Westminster School District celebrated the beginning of its new, district-wide initiative to empower student success through sustainability during a groundbreaking event at Warner Middle School on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Through a collaborative partnership with OpTerra Energy Services, the District is leveraging its California Prop 39 funding to build a comprehensive sustainability program that will reduce energy and water use, while nurturing STEM educational opportunities for students and teachers. The groundbreaking event was attended by State Senator Janet Nguyen, Mayor Tri Ta, and representatives from County Supervisor Andrew Do’s office along with staff from Congressman Alan Lowenthal and Assemblyman Travis Allen’s teams and other community members.
Connecting STEM with sustainability
In just under a year, the Westminster SD Board of Trustees has seen their Prop 39 program come to life from a rigorous planning phase to construction in action. The Board selected OpTerra Energy Services to be their district-wide partner as they co-developed a comprehensive scope that would serve all unique campuses and address the individual needs of every District site and the priorities of end users at every school.
After conducting a district-wide assessment and analysis of all school sites and district property, Westminster SD worked with the regional, Orange County-based OpTerra team to prioritize opportunities for solar energy generation, energy efficiency, water conservation, campus safety, and STEM education. It was paramount to the Board and District leadership that their available Prop 39 funding go beyond simple energy efficiency measures and act as a foundation to enhance students’ relationship to the science behind the sustainability project itself. As part of OpTerra’s commitment to building long-term impact, the OpTerra education team is partnering with principals and teachers across the District to design hands-on STEM activities that turn the District into a living laboratory, using the Prop 39 project as a platform for hands-on learning and STEM career exposure.
Doing more with Prop 39
With the program officially kicking off this month, Westminster’s Prop 39 funding will go beyond improving energy performance and is set to accomplish the following highlights:
- $18.3 million in General Fund savings after debt service over the life of the program
- 1.5MW of solar at all 19 District sites
- 15,799 interior and exterior LED light upgrades at all 19 District sites
- 2 electric vehicle-charging stations
- Water conservation measures at all 19 District sites
- Improved campus safety with exterior lighting upgrades and solar shade structures
- Improved student achievement and learning environment with indoor lighting upgrades
- Hands-on STEM education curriculum consistent with Common Core State Standards
- Environmental stewardship through greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction
Applause from local and State leaders
During Tuesday’s groundbreaking celebration, state, regional, and local leaders recognized Superintendent Dr. Marian Kim-Phelps and the Board of Trustees’ leadership in developing this comprehensive sustainability program that will set the bar across the region.
State Senator Janet Nguyen commented that, “Our ability to conserve water, energy and other natural resources is only successful when all public agencies are doing their part to conserve more – and the Westminster School District is a model for Southern California.”
City of Westminster Mayor Tri Ta was also enthusiastic about what Westminster SD’s new sustainability program will mean for the ongoing partnership with the City as well, stating, “Westminster SD’s new sustainability program will open a new chapter for our partnership – focused on achieving important environmental outcomes through direct engagement with the most important part of our City – our great residents.”
Solar canopy structure implementation will begin at many school sites during the winter break to avoid any disruption to class schedules. As Westminster’s Prop 39 work continues to unfold, the District looks forward to engaging with the community to promote milestones and new successes throughout the school year.
About Westminster School District
Located in Orange County, California, the Westminster School District serves elementary and middle school students in the communities of Westminster, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, and Midway City. Learn more at www.wsdk8.us.
About OpTerra Energy Services
OpTerra Energy Services is a national energy company that partners with school districts, cities, and counties to implement comprehensive sustainability solutions that save money, generate revenue, improve assets, and protect the environment. OpTerra partnered with Desert Sands USD to complete the largest Prop 39 project to date across California in early 2015. We have saved our partners over $1 billion in energy savings over the past 40 years. Learn more at www.opterraenergy.com.
The article above was released by OpTerra Energy Services.
Groundbreaking at Warner Elementary School. Courtesy photo.