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Out with the old, in with the new at Phoenix school

PHOENIX — Students in North Phoenix are saying goodbye to their old school.

It’ll have the same name next year, but the school is going “green” with its new buildings that are being built right next door.

The 1,000 students at Lookout Mountain Elementary School will be in new eco-friendly classrooms next year. It’s the largest geothermal project currently going on in Arizona.

“Our two story educational building, plus our gym, is all geothermal,” said Lookout Mountain Principal Trish Johnson. “We have heavy insulation in our walls and ceilings and our glasswork is solar band heat reflected insulated glass.”

She said there are several other features that will save the district money.

“We’ve got motion censors on all of our classroom lights, as well as our air conditioning units and other parts of the building,” Johnson said. “So when it is unoccupied, they go off automatically.”

Johnson said the renovation is being funded by a $15 million bond override that voters in the Washington Elementary School District approved last year. She said the new school will save the district a lot of money.

“There’s about a 10-year turnaround on the geothermal, from what I understand,” said Johnson. “Ten years is nothing to a school. Once that incures all of that savings, which is about a 40 percent savings, it’ll all go back into the kitty.”

Lookout Mountain Elementary School first opened in 1974. The school’s current buildings will be demolished to make for more playground and parking space. The new buildings are set to open at the start of the next school year.