Minnehaha Academy Upper School is nearing its completion, and the environmental footprint is an important element of the construction and design of the new school.
Judy Hoskens, the architectural principal and team lead at Cunningham Group, consulted with a conservation biologist to ensure the Upper School campus had an environmentally-conscious design.
For example, each window that faces the Mississippi river has bird-safe glass and window glazing installed so migratory birds along the river identify the building as solid, rather than transparent, mitigating bird-glass collisions.
Landscape architecture has been integrated throughout the campus to promote local wildlife and pollinator habitats. This strategic design allows environmental studies to be incorporated into the science curriculum and encourages teachers and students to leave the classroom to explore evidence of wildlife and experience the outdoors.
Trees salvaged during construction are being repurposed for interior design use such as custom-made cabinetry and a white oak door for the prayer room. Weaving the old into the new is a theme for the new Upper School, including trees saved after the explosion and replanted on campus along with over 150 newly planted trees and landscaping.
Plans are in place to install a green roof featuring high-quality waterproofing, root repellent and drainage system, filter cloth, and a lightweight growing medium for plants. Students, faculty and staff will be able to step outside and use the green roof when possible.
Additionally, new drainage systems have been installed on campus to reduce soil erosion and better control rain runoff. This will ensure a more efficient campus grounds that takes into account the proximity of the river and potential weather.
As Christians we are called to be good stewards, and we believe that through our careful design and build process, we are being good stewards with the land and the building.