Civic

[VIDEO] President Obama Talks Preservation at Gathering on Jobs & Economy

Posted on: September 14th, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Yesterday afternoon, one of our colleagues - Wendy Nicholas, director of the Northeast Office in Boston - had an opportunity to speak to President Barack Obama about historic preservation. At a small gathering about jobs and the economy hosted by her brother and sister-in-law in Fairfax, VA, Wendy engaged President Obama about his thoughts on preservation as an economic driver. In a lengthy response that touched on schools, National Parks, and the HomeStar legislation, the President revealed that he's both informed and engaged on this issue that's so near and dear to us.

(Please note: the video below seems to be loading very slowly into our blog. You can get it a bit more quickly by clicking this link.)

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

The True Cost of Deferring Maintenance in Our Schools

Posted on: September 1st, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Renee Kuhlman

The Richardson School in Cheyenne, Wyoming (Photo: Mary Humstone)

The Richardson School in Cheyenne, Wyoming (Photo: Mary Humstone)

It’s almost the end of summer and like many school districts across the country, my family is anxious to finish up maintenance projects before school starts again.

As preservationists, we know that regular maintenance is essential to keeping an older structure around for future use. However, according to a recent report from the American Association of School Administrators, the percentage of school districts predicting that they will defer maintenance is rising dramatically. In the 2008-2009 school year, 18 percent of school districts predicted they would defer maintenance; that number rose to 36 percent in 2009-2010. In 2010, more than half of the country’s school districts—55 percent—predicted they would defer maintenance.

In 1995, the Government Accounting Office estimated that $113 billion was needed to bring a third of the country’s K-12 schools into good repair. Today, experts estimate it would take $216 billion dollars (see the 21st Century School Fund’s Repair for Success: An Analysis of the Need and Possibilities for a Federal Investment in PK-12 School Maintenance and Repair for more information).

Industry experts typically recommend that two to four percent of the current replacement value of a building should be spent every year on maintenance (see the National Research Council’s Committing to the Cost of Ownership: Maintenance and Repair of Public Buildings for more information).

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Lowe's Brings Back Schools in Time for Back-to-School

Posted on: August 24th, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

As students are preparing to go back to school, Lowe’s and the National Trust are doing the same.  Today, they announced nearly $500,000 in grants has been awarded for the preservation and rehabilitation of ten historic schools across the country.

The rehabilitated historic schools will serve central roles in their communities as educational centers, cultural and community centers, and more.   For example, the Park Addition School in Cheyenne, WY, will serve as a shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Lincoln Creek Day School, Fort Hall, ID

The Lincoln Creek Day School was built as part of a “New Deal” for Native Americans on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in Idaho.

These buildings are important pieces of history in their communities and in America. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his first “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Booker T. Washington High School in Rocky Mount, NC.

The Lincoln Creek Day School was built as part of a “New Deal” for Native Americans on the Fort Hall Indian Reservation in ID and will continue its rehabilitation project that began with a grant from the National Trust Preservation Fund made possible by the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation.

Previous years of funding have focused on Rosenwald Schools, and eight were awarded grants earlier this year.  Today, Lowe’s and the National Trust are taking their support nationwide to make a difference in as many communities as possible.

Visit our website to learn more about all ten historic school grant recipients and the Rosenwald School grant recipients.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

National Trust Mountains/Plains Office to Green 125-Year-Old School

Posted on: August 24th, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Jim Lindberg 

From Left to Right: Ed Nichols, President of History Colorado; Barb Pahl, National Trust Mountains/Plains Regional Director; Stephanie Meeks, National Trust President; John Hickenlooper, Mayor of Denver; and Steve Turner, Director of the State Historical Fund

Last week, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks announced that the National Trust will accept the donation of an 1885 school building in Denver’s historic Capitol Hill neighborhood. The Emerson School, a designated Denver landmark also known as the Frank B. McGlone Center, will become the new headquarters for the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office and two of our preservation partners in Colorado: Historic Denver, Inc. and Colorado Preservation, Inc.  

Over the coming months, the Mountains/Plains Office will undertake a $2.3 million rehabilitation of the school, with a particular focus on making the building a model for how older structures can meet – or exceed – the highest standards for energy efficiency and environmental design. It will also be a model for environmental stewardship of National Trust-owned properties. 

Stephanie Meeks shared this vision at a press conference held last Thursday, August 19, at the school. Regional Director Barb Pahl joined Stephanie to make the announcement, along with Denver Mayor (and Democratic gubernatorial nominee) John Hickenlooper, State Representative Pat Steadman, Denver Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, History Colorado President Ed Nichols, and State Historical Fund Director Steve Turner. 

From a stage in the second floor lecture hall at the Emerson School, Stephanie thanked the board of directors of Capitol Hill Senior Resources, Inc. for their generous donation of the school to the National Trust. In addition, she announced that a former Capitol Hill Senior Resources board member, Joan Garrett, donated a $1.5 million endowment to the National Trust to provide for the long-term maintenance of the school. 

The press conference concluded with a big boost for the rehabilitation plan, when History Colorado President Ed Nichols presented Stephanie and the National Trust with a certificate announcing a $500,000 grant to the project from the State Historical Fund. This was one of just two grants awarded to Colorado projects through a special State Historical Fund initiative to demonstrate the connections between historic preservation and sustainability. 

Please stay tuned to PresevationNation.org for additional information about the Emerson School and its upcoming green rehabilitation. Also, click here to learn more about the National Trust’s efforts to retain community-centered schools. 

Jim Lindberg is the director of preservation initiatives for the National Trust's Mountains/Plains Office.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Schools: Reflecting on Recent Environmental Lessons Learned

Posted on: August 10th, 2010 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Written by Renee Kuhlman       

Things that very quickly ruin my morning – stories about kids forced to trade quality walking/biking time for long bus commutes to new sprawl campuses.

Each and every morning, I kick off the day by reading through a slew of newspaper stories and blog posts chronicling school closures, rehabilitations, and funding issues. To be honest, it's a labor of love that comes with the territory of being the "schools guru" for the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Center for State and Local Policy. Then, after much scanning, surfing, and clicking, I send out the most interesting stories to a growing list of folks who are interested in community-centered schools.    

Some of the stories I come across make me glad to have gotten out bed, like this one from the Charleston Daily Mail, where Superintendent George Krelis spoke in glowing terms about the recent renovations to the 1917 Triadelphia Middle School in Wheeling, WV. "There was never a discussion of demolishing the building. It’s in tremendous condition. Structurally, it’s a beautiful facility.”      

Ahhh, I live for sound bites like that.      

Sometimes, however, I get frustrated seeing the same stories over and over again. Take this example from KITV.com in Honolulu, where one of four K-6 elementary schools located on the island of Molokai might be closed for claimed efficiency reasons. Efficient?!? If the school is closed, the students who currently walk to the 1937 Maunaloa School will not only have to ride a bus, but will lose the many benefits offered by smaller schools. According to Maunaloa Elementary School Principal Joe Yamamoto, “the school is really like a second home to them...they are always around the school.” I must ask (though I can probably answer myself): Has a full cost study been done measuring the health, transportation, and community costs of the decision?      

That’s why I was so excited to hear presentations last Thursday by Patrice Frey and Elaine Clegg to the organizations that are receiving funding and technical assistance through the Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policy project. I thought the lessons we learned that day might be helpful to you.      

Lesson #1 – Explain How We’re Avoiding Negative Environment Impacts by Using Older Schools      

According to Patrice Frey, the deputy director of the sustainability program at the National Trust, there are several environmental reasons for keeping older school buildings in use. When people think of carbon dioxide emissions and buildings, they typically think of emissions that come from the operation of buildings. In the eyes of many, buildings produce so much carbon through use of electricity and natural gas that it’s better to rip them down and start over. Not so fast!  Turns out that the construction process itself produces lots of carbon. For example, researchers have found it takes 35-50 years for a new, energy-efficient home to recover the carbon expended in construction. I’m no mathematician, but even I can extrapolate what that means in terms of school construction.   

Lesson #2 – Life Cycle Analysis...Coming Soon      

The National Trust is sponsoring research on life-cycle assessments, and one of the scenarios we'll be running is the use of an existing school building vs. demolishing it and building new. For those like me who are unfamiliar with what exactly life-cycle assessment means, check out this easy-to-understand description. Due out this winter, the new research will be a boon in the effort to protect community-centered schools.      

Lesson #3 – Guess Again – Older Buildings Aren’t Necessary Energy Hogs      

Older buildings, including schools, are not “energy hogs." The Department of Energy has found that the “energy use per square foot” for older, commercial buildings (which Patrice Frey believes would be same basic typology as an older school) is less for buildings constructed before 1920 than any other era of construction up until year 2000. Why is this, you might ask? No need to look further than the thick masonry walls, high ceilings, and operable windows in your local school.      

Lesson #4 – Putting It In Writing Makes A World of Difference      

Taking the recommendations from a variety of sources, including the recently published Helping Johnny Walk to School publication, Elaine Clegg with Smart Growth Idaho has given presentations across her state about smart growth, safer routes to school, school siting, and complete streets. On the school siting issue, the workshops are designed to encourage collaborative planning between school districts, land-use, transportation, and planning agencies so that school site decisions incorporate a full cost comparison, including transportation, health, and community costs. These workshops encourage an agreement to be signed by agencies and any non-governmental organizations (YMCA, youth organizations, etc.) involved to overcome the question of who has authority to make decisions. Clegg also suggests that such agreements always include a process so that the public’s opinions can be incorporated.      

All in all, these four lessons prove that the old saying is wrong; you can teach an old dog some new tricks. Please let us know if they make a difference in your community.      

Renee Kuhlman directs the Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart Policyproject and enjoys learning something new every day. If you are interested in her daily of school clippings, please contact her directly at renee_kuhlman@nthp.org.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.