By David Moss
Green roofs are known to have both educational and environmental benefits. They can be used as classroom settings for in-depth biology lessons, and they have been known to help buildings manage storm water runoff and keep buildings cooler in the summer months.
This project was advocated for by the 75 Morton Community Alliance, a volunteer group established in 2013 to give voice to the community throughout the design, construction, and development of the new school. The School Construction Authority, which is building the facility, accommodated plans for this green roof in its designs in anticipation of City and State funding.
The project was included on Council Member Johnson’s 2016 Participatory Budgeting (PB) ballot, which gives residents the opportunity to vote for projects to receive City funding. While the green roof project fell just short of the votes needed to gain funding through PB (with 683 votes), Council Member Johnson decided to direct funds to the project anyway, citing the immense educational and environmental value that the project will bring.
“Green roofs give our kids unique, hands-on learning experiences that they truly take with them throughout their lives,” said Council Member Johnson. “The environmental effects of this project will be outstanding as well. The green roof at nearby P.S. 41 has been a huge success, and with such a great team of parents and administrators in place at 75 Morton, I know this one will be as well.”
P.S. 41, located at 116 West 11th Street, has had a green roof at its location since 2012. It has been very highly regarded by the school community as an invaluable educational resource.
“P.S. 41’s GELL Project (Green Roof Environmental Literacy Laboratory) opened in the fall of 2012, after a six-year effort,” explained Vicki Sando, the founder of P.S. 41’s Green Roof program. “Immediately and since then, the green roof has made numerous significant contributions to P.S. 41 and the surrounding community. Besides an outdoor classroom, it is a wildlife habitat, has reduced storm water runoff and the heat island effect, while producing 22% in energy savings. Most importantly, it has reconnected students with the natural world.”