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Student run café, environmental studies center open house set

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POSTED September 22, 2013 9:46 p.m.

Manteca Unified School District is unveiling its new Regional Environmental Studies Center (RESC) Wednesday, Sept. 26, along with public debut of the Manteca Unified Vocational Academy Café.

The grand-opening event will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the district office, 2271 W. Louise Avenue. MUSD’s student green teams will exhibit their school’s sustainable projects, and MUVA Culinary Arts students will prepare and serve local sustainable food catered from the MUVA Café, a new student-run business that opened to the public on Sept. 2.

The two projects, RESC and MUVA, demonstrate the district’s commitment to bringing environmental education to students, staff and the community at large. In 2009, the district formed the Leadership on Green Initiatives Committee (LOGIC), a comprehensive district-wide program that partners with local businesses, organizations and community members to promote environmental awareness and stewardship throughout the district. A few of the committee’s accomplishments include offsetting $6.9 million in energy costs and a district-wide solar installation – better known as the Renewable Energy Efficiency Project (REEP) which is projected to produce enough energy to cut the district’s utility bills by approximately 65 percent.

To showcase the district’s commitment to sustainability, it partnered with Manteca-based American Modular Systems (AMS) to build the Gen7  Regional Environmental Studies Center, a prefabricated multi-use community center that gives Central Valley students and residents free and open access to environmental education and resources.

The RESC will offer Industrial Technology and Design coursework to high school juniors and seniors enrolled in MUVA, as well as community education programs that teach the public about green building techniques and technologies, sustainable home improvement, gardening, energy and water conservation, air quality and innovation – all reflected in the building’s design and performance.

“The Manteca RESC was designed with a clear mission; to bridge the gap between awareness and action,” said Victoria Brunn, coordinator of the district’s Sustainability and Energy Education.

“Everything, from the building construction to its sustainable features and native landscaping, gives students and visitors a tutorial on green building and resource conservation, applied to daily living.”

The RESC seamlessly blends the district’s sustainability and energy goals, designed to achieve Zero Net Energy with roof-mounted solar panels the Gen 7 building will generate more energy than is required to operate its systems and produces virtually no carbon emissions. Constructed from renewable, recycled and low-emitting materials, the Center is anticipating LEED Silver Certification.

LEED for Schools Green Building Rating System is the recognized third-party standard that ensures schools are healthy, efficient, and inspiring while saving energy, resources and money. Inside, the light, airy space is modern and fully automated and serves as a teaching tool. A real time energy dashboard allows students and visitors to monitor energy production and consumption through an interactive, wall-mounted iPads. Custom signs and cutaways are located throughout the building, describing its many green features and materials.

“We wanted more than a building; we wanted to connect people to the environment in positive, productive ways,” said Superintendent Jason Messer. “Natural ventilation, large energy-efficient windows and skylights bring in fresh air, light and sky, with solar panels harnessing the power of the sunto make the building energy-independent.”

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