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Graze School

Graze School
The Academy For Global Citizenship, a charter school on the Southwest Side, is finalizing its search for a 10-acre site, a real estate consultant, and a contracting budget for the greenest school in Illinois, set to be completed around 2014.
AGC's Sarah Elizabeth Ippel and Peter Vitale
AGC's Sarah Elizabeth Ippel and Peter Vitale (with 6-year-old helpers) showed us around the school's current 12k SF building at47th and Knox yesterday. The new school will incoporate the urban gardening, schoolyard chickens, and organic meals already available to students but will be Illinois' first net-positive energyschool. Last year, OWP/P Cannon Design took the second grader's suggestions while designing the new campus, which is slated to have four buildings totaling 55k SF. One innovative feature will be the world's first positive-energy playground, where kinetic energy from children's play will be channeled back to the grid. (You thought it was hard getting kids to come in from recess before? Now they can claim going to math promotes global warming.)
Peter Vitale and Sarah Elizabeth Ippel
The new campus will have no hallways (just walkways covered by solar panels), which will improve light and heat efficiency and each classroom or “learning studio” will have a door to the outside. Energy will come from wind turbines, like the one on their current playground, as well as solar panels above outdoor walkways between the classrooms. A geothermal heat pump under the grazing fields and orchards will provide HVAC and a solar power plug-in car port will fuel electric vehicles. Peter and Sarah Elizabeth have narrowed the site choices down to a just a handful between Cicero and Kedzie south of I-55, and are estimating the cost of the project to be around $30M, about half of the typical cost to build a Chicago public school.
AGC campus
Funding will come from private investors, foundations, corporate support, as well as public sources, says Sarah Elizabeth. The school will add an interim satellite campus to support its grades K-4 next year, and add one grade per year until eighth, ultimately serving about 550 students per grade. The Academy for Global Citizenship is working to meet standards of the Living Building Challenge, a new designation that promotes building as a means of restoring the environment.