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Sustainability in our schools

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Since 1994, San Diego Unified School District has pursued innovative projects to save energy, reduce utility costs, and protect the environment while promoting sustainability in the district.

Additionally, San Diego Unified goes through an extensive environmental review process prior to starting construction on any new project or making improvements to existing facilities. By law, all projects undertaken in the state of California are required to be reviewed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Climate change initiatives

• SDUSD was one of the first organizations to join the California Climate Action Registry, which tracks greenhouse gas emissions.

• Even though the San Diego Unified maintains more square footage than organizations such as UC San Diego, the city of San Diego and SDSU, we have the lowest carbon footprint and are consistently below local, state and national levels in our utility costs.

A physical environment can also symbolize certain qualities, values and personal experiences. A school structure can symbolize hope, opportunity, or stability for students. Perhaps the biggest impact of safe, comfortable and inspiring schools is that they communicate a message to students and teachers that they are respected and special individuals; and that education is a critical component of our society. It is important that students, teachers, parents and community members want to come to our schools.

The mission of the Facilities Planning & Construction (FPC) Division is to design and construct clean, safe, environmentally friendly facilities that encourage successful teaching and learning. The services within FPC are strategic planning, project management (including the design phase), construction management, business outreach, contracts compliance (post-award), labor compliance, program management and implementation of the district's Project Stabilization Agreement for Proposition S.

Many studies point to better attendance, improved test scores and reduced disciplinary problems as evidence that the physical environment of a school can make a difference in education. As one looks at the results of the research, findings link improved student achievement with building quality, newer or modernized buildings, improved lighting, thermal comfort, acoustics and indoor air quality. Studies also show a relationship between safe, secure, and well-maintained schools and performance, attendance, and dropout rate.

Led by Lee Dulgeroff, chief facilities planning and construction officer, FPC manages the implementation of the $2.1 billion bond program, Proposition S and $2.8 billion Proposition Z. FPC manages two types of projects: Capital facilities bond projects, which are typically large and complex, and funded by general obligation bond funds approved by the San Diego voters; Physical Plant Operations facility improvement projects, which are typically smaller and include repair/replacement work.

In accordance with CEQA, the district's FPC Planning Department keeps the state and public informed through multiple means that include issuing notices of intent before projects, holding meetings to collect public input when necessary and assessing the need for an Environmental Impact Report. In an effort to be more transparent, SDUSD goes beyond the CEQA requirements when notifying neighbors, parents, staff, students and other stakeholders.

If you want to be notified on a particular environmental project at the San Diego Unified School District, please contact the FPC Planning Department at 858-627-7298 or visit us online at http://www.sandi.net/page/948.

-Submitted by San Diego Unified School District.

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