New Academic Center Provides Green Learning Opportunities at St. George’s School

PROVIDENCE, RI – Students at St. George’s School, located at 372 Purgatory Road in Middletown, R.I., will return this fall to a state-of-the-art science facility, complete with several sustainable features, built by Shawmut Design and Construction. The project, which took 14 months to complete, was built to achieve LEED Gold certification.

“It was a great pleasure to work with St. George’s to create this unique learning facility that we believe will serve them well into the future,” said Ron Simoneau, vice president of Shawmut Design and Construction. “We were happy to collaborate with St. George’s to create a sustainable learning space that also serves as a valuable learning tool for the students.”

The 30,000-square-foot new construction and 11,000-square-foot addition is set to be completed the week of Sept. 7. The result is an unmatched learning facility that will provide students with a collaborative learning experience. The addition houses a total of seven new state-of-the-art biology, chemistry, and physics labs, which are designed as combination laboratories and classrooms. Thirteen new classrooms were also added as a part of the renovation, as well as a combined sciences/math faculty suite.

The project provides a host of sustainable features including:

  • Wind Turbine—A turbine converts kinetic energy from the wind into electrical power. Turbines are becoming an increasingly important source of renewable energy, minimizing reliance on fossil fuels.
  • Solar Hot Water Arrays—Solar arrays preheat water using the sun’s energy. This water, in combination with a high-efficiency hot water heater, will use 30 percent less energy to produce domestic hot water used in the labs, plant room and bathrooms.
  • Photovoltaic Panels—Within these panels, photons of light excite electrons into a higher state of energy, converting solar energy into direct current electricity. At its peak, this array will power 7 percent of the building’s lighting system, or two labs, for an entire year.
  • Energy Recovery Wheel—Energy recovery wheels or “enthalpy wheels” generate energy by transferring heat and moisture between outdoor air and exhaust air streams. Up to 80 percent of this energy is recycled to precondition outdoor air, resulting in reduced HVAC load and operating cost.
  • Rain Garden—This garden mimics the hydrologic action of a healthy forest, allowing rainwater and storm water runoff to successfully infiltrate the ground. This minimizes erosion, water pollution and flooding.

These sustainable features not only serve as a valuable learning tool, but also help save energy and money and serve as a model of future learning. The facility, which took just over a year to complete, also has an outdoor courtyard extending the learning environment. The new Academic Center is built to achieve LEED Gold certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy requirements and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

By the Numbers

41,000 – Total square footage of learning space, including new construction and renovations by Shawmut Design and Construction

20 – Number of new classroom and science labs created

250 – Tons of steel used to frame the new structure

394 – Truck loads of soil moved

30 – Percent of total hot water produced by solar arrays for the labs, plant room, and bathrooms

About Shawmut Design and Construction:

Shawmut Design and Construction is a national construction management firm that builds exciting projects for distinguished clients. As an ESOP (employee-owned) company, Shawmut’s main objective is delivering exceptional, personalized service to clients. Project teams take the time to truly listen to clients’ goals and concerns while implementing comprehensive tools and services. Shawmut’s unique business model allows project teams to better service clients by focusing their specialized expertise within one of the following areas: academic, commercial, corporate interiors, cultural and historic, gaming, healthcare and science, hotels, restaurants, retail, spas and health clubs, and sports venues. Shawmut has offices located in Boston, New York, Providence, North Haven, West Springfield, Las Vegas, Miami, and Los Angeles. For more information, please visit

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