Creating the schools for the future

Vernonia is not just rebuilding its schools. Forced by devastating circumstances to replace its entire district, Vernonia is creating the schools for its future by creating a more vibrant community hub, and aligning the design and educational program with advancing sustainable practices to create long-term economic opportunities. The school is the first LEED-designed K-12 school, creating a healthier and more productive learning environment, and considerably reducing long-term operating expenses.

The new Vernonia schools are:

  • Sited in a central, accessible and safe location high above the floodplain;
  • Built for current classroom capacity and easy expansion for at least 30 years of projected population growth;
  • A natural resources center that will combine science labs and classrooms for the schools with space for Oregon’s colleges, universities and community colleges to conduct sustainable forestry and clean energy research and to provide job skills training;
  • A unique-to-Oregon integrated K–12 model;
  • Designed with “green” environmental features and indoor/outdoor spaces that provide operating cost savings and powerful learning opportunities and curricula that link to emerging Oregon economic opportunities; and
  • A case study in investing in schools as a means to catalyze rural economic development and recovery.