An extra $85,000 was removed from a budget supplemental by the Falls Church City Council Tuesday night when it was reported that, despite the urging in the last weeks from Council member Dan Sze, the new Mt. Daniel Elementary School construction project already in its preliminary stages will not be crafted to meet so-called “LEED Silver” environmental certification standards.
This was what Sze reported following a four-hour conference call between himself, F.C. School Superintendent Dr. Tony Jones and the schools’ construction contractors last Friday. It was argued in that meeting, Sze reported, that the Schools’ priority of having the new expanded elementary school open in time for the beginning of the Fall 2016 school year took priority over the LEED certification, which at this point would significantly slow down the completion of the project.
While everyone who spoke out on the City Council expressed disappointment at the situation, it was Council member Marybeth Connelly who reminded her colleagues that the Council failed to take the opportunity to stipulate a LEED certification for the project last December when the additional $85,000 required for it was not provided. Poor communication back then was then cited as a causal factor in the current predicament, which includes the fact that the Schools have a lot of autonomy on such decisions, as the Council can only appropriate the money but not dictate the use.
Sze cited that one of the most important features of a LEED standing is its “third party certification” component, assuring the required environmentally-friendly components of the project are met.