By Rachel Leber
FORT BEND, Texas — The Fort Bend Independent School District (FBISD) will be the first in Texas to issue Green Bonds for the construction of three new environmentally sustainable elementary schools.
The Green Bonds are part of a new arena of the national municipal bond market, which allows public entities to finance environmentally friendly capital construction. The bonds funding the new schools were issued in April 2017, and all three schools are on track to open in time for the 2017-2018 school year.
The district will issue a total of $99 million tax-exempt bonds to fund the new schools, with $52 million designated as Green Bonds. This amount is part of a $484 million bond package that was approved in 2014 by Fort Bend School District voters. Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co. LLC (SCSCO) in Houston will manage the bond issue.
The three schools that will be constructed from the Green Bonds include Donald Leonetti Elementary School, James C. Neill Elementary School and James Patterson Elementary. All three schools are designed to LEED certification and superior energy-performance standards. Specifications for LEED design are part of the FBISD Board of Trustees Elementary School Education Specification, adopted after the approval of the 2014 Bond Program.
“Our new schools include state-of-the-art energy-saving features that will help us save on operating costs,” said FBISD Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Dupre.
The new elementary schools will include sustainable features such as energy-efficient HVAC equipment, heat-reducing features such as light-colored building materials and building materials with high levels of recycled content. Green space will also be built into the design of campus.
“Texas’ population is booming and we need to build new, state-of-the-art schools to continue to provide the highest quality education for our children,” said Keith Richard, managing director and head of the Texas Region for SCSCO.
The district currently enrolls 74,500 students on 75 campuses and is expected to increase to 85,000 students by 2026.
This article originally appeared on School Construction News.