Solar tops new Madison Olson Elementary School

Friday, August 29, 2008

From an article by Tamira Madsen in The Capital Times:

The 88,000-square foot, $13 million school was completed earlier this week and has a geothermal heating/cooling system, day lighting windows and solar panel roofing. Olson is one of the first schools in the state to be constructed to strict environmental guidelines, also known as LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) specifications. The school was named for Paul J. Olson, a native of Mount Horeb and University of Wisconsin graduate who was a devoted conservationist and highly respected science teacher and 23-year principal at Midvale Elementary School.

It's those green aspects that many Olson parents and teachers find appealing, including Kimi Ishikawa, an English as a second language teacher in a fourth- and fifth-grade classroom.

Ishikawa taught at Chavez for five years and helped build a rain garden at the school. She said encouraging children to respect and take care of the environment is important for the faculty, which organized a green team over the summer. Several initiatives the team plans to incorporate are carpooling and developing a prairie.

"Environmental issues are really important to me," Ishikawa said. "I think it will be very exciting starting a new culture at a new school and building a new community, and hopefully, building it around some of those environmental mind-sets. I was involved in putting in a rain garden at Chavez and a bunch of us at Chavez took a prairie restoration class.