School District of the City of York, Arthur W. Ferguson Elementary School

New construction: School District of the City of York, Arthur W. Ferguson Elementary School; Barton Associates Inc.


The school is not only the first LEED Platinum Certified public elementary school in Pennsylvania but is only the second school in Pennsylvania to achieve LEED Platinum from the U.S. Green Building Council. The project also received the 2011 Overall Design Award from the Green Building Association of Central Pennsylvania. (Click to enlarge)Project name: School District of the City of York, Arthur W. Ferguson Elementary School

Location: York, Pa.

Firm name: Barton Associates Inc.

Project type, building type: New construction, school (K-12)

Project duration: 3 years

Project completion date: Aug. 16, 2010

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $5.8 million

Engineering challenges

The Ferguson Elementary school project had very interesting challenges that the design team needed to address throughout the project. The site was the home to the existing elementary school that needed to remain occupied while a new facility was constructed on site. The school district also wanted to implement the most energy-efficient system that was possible, which could be constructed in a phased approach. The elementary school phasing created a separate administration/multipurpose section of the facility that was segregated from the classroom section and connected only by a walkway/corridor with a playground underneath. The school district desired that the design team reduce energy use of the kitchen exhaust and makeup systems for a more energy-efficient building. The school district also desired that the design team reduce energy use of the facility by reducing power consumption of the lighting systems. The goal of the project was to implement a lighting power budget of 0.7 watts per sq ft and still keep the light level appropriate for a classroom.


An HVAC system evaluation was performed and a geothermal heat pump system was chosen. The system analysis showed that a geothermal heating and cooling system would have a 7-year payback. The geothermal well field was to be installed early so that the new building could be constructed while the existing building was still operational. Both buildings were overlaid, along with the new and existing electrical service and plumbing utilities, to locate what portions of the site could be utilized for the geothermal well field. The geothermal well field was designed to accommodate the existing building and new facility by increasing the well depth to 450 ft, and very specific pipe routing was specified as the existing building was only 15 ft away from the new facilities’ mechanical room and pipe entrance. The corridor connects the three-story classroom area to the administrative office and main entrance. Because the administrative area needed utilities and the main electrical and mechanical room was located in the three-story classroom wing, the 5-ft-wide corridor ceiling was the only direct path connecting the two building sections. Close coordination through the design and construction process for all disciplines had to occur to locate the piping, conduits, and duct through that bridge connection to accommodate services in both phases of the facility. We coordinated work with the kitchen equipment vendor and consultant to integrate the exhaust fan and makeup air unit operation with the HVAC controls to the kitchen hood operation so that the system operates at the flow rate needed based on the food service equipment being used rather than the maximum flow at all times. We selected and spaced light fixtures to meet the foot-candle level while reducing the watts required by the lamps. Daylight controls with digital ballasts were implemented to adjust the light level on a per row basis as the lights move away from the windows.

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