WOODS CROSS — Back-to-school preparations taking place in schools across the county are at a different intensity for teachers at Odyssey Elementary.
As construction workers attach door knobs and apply wall panels nearby, teachers are unloading books and decorating bulletin boards in preparation for the first day of school, Aug. 25.
Even before students arrive to start the new year, the public is invited to see the new building at an open house tonight, Aug. 21, at 6:30 p.m. Back-to-school night begins at 7:30 p.m., at 2050 S. 1955 West in Woods Cross.
Besides preparing for the school year, teachers at Odyssey are learning about the new features of the district’s 60th elementary school.
Odyssey is the first “Net Zero” school in the state, according to Gary Payne, administrator of facilities management and planning for the district. It will also be a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified building.
The new building has ground source heat exchanges, which transfer heated air 350 feet below ground where it is stored until it is needed to heat the building.
A photovoltaic array on the rooftops and as sunshades on the windows will be installed to save energy costs. At times throughout the year the solar panels are expected to provide electricity back to Rocky Mountain Power.
Each room has a thermal air displacement system that brings air from both sides of the room to students, and then up through ceiling vents.
“It’s more efficient and more comfortable,” said Bryan Turner, director of architectural services in the district.
Classrooms each have a glass garage door that opens to a broad hallway where classes can collaborate.
The school is built around the theme of bodies in motion and each of the four classroom wings features a motion such as swimming, jumping, running and flying.
Chairs tested by students at four other district schools have wheels on their legs and flexible backs.
Cupboards double as whiteboards. Common walls have space for student art. Extra security measures are in place.
“It’s very sophisticated,” said Payne of the school.
Groundbreaking on similar schools in Farmington and Kaysville is expected to take place in April, he said, with anticipated openings in August 2016.