Bethany Christian Schools Practices What It Teaches
DJ Construction, Bethany CS, & Dynamic Mechanicals partner on facility improvements.
Goshen, August 27, 2014—
Bethany Christian Schools is taking learning to new heights and depths.
By installing a new sloped roof system and a new geothermal mechanical system in the part of the school building originally constructed in 1954, Head of School Allan Dueck said Bethany is “becoming a living learning lab” where faith-based creation care is practiced.
“Not only students but also the community can watch and assess the value of sustainable living for their daily lives,” said Dueck.
The project is a collaborative effort between the school, DJ Construction, and Dynamic Mechanical Services and is well under way with an October completion date, said DJ Construction’s project manager Howie Mathews.
Benefits to the School
Dueck said the benefits to the school are twofold: First, the new mechanical and roof systems “will enhance air quality, eliminate roof leaks, and yield significant energy savings.”
Adam Tohulka, Pre-Construction Project Manager at DJ Construction, adds that the school can reallocate the money they are saving from more efficient energy usage to items that benefit the school, like supplies or technology.
A second benefit, according to Dueck, is that the school can practice what it teaches, which is taking care of the environment.
“This puts us in a much better position to inspire students to consider future decisions about energy use in light of the creation-care lessons they learn here,” he said.
“Our campus will be an embodiment of the values we are trying to teach,” said Environmental Science teacher Amy Thut. “When we learn about the importance of conserving natural gas, I will be able to show students our geothermal heating system and newly-insulated roof.”
Benefits to the Environment
According to information on the Bethany Christian Schools website, once the project is completed, Bethany’s energy footprint will be much smaller as the school decreases its use of electricity, water, and gas usage. Heating bills are projected to be reduced by over 50%.
Tohulka confirmed the website information, saying, “With a geothermal system, no carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, or other greenhouse gasses are emitted, which are considered to be major contributors to environmental air pollution.”
According to Tohulka, planning for the green retrofit project began in late 2011 and actual construction began in May of 2014. The roof structure is in place and ready for roof panels. Sixty 320-foot-deep wells have been drilled for geothermal energy, and much of the new mechanical equipment is in place.
“Creating this new roof system significantly improves the building’s appearance and also creates an attic so that the insulation on the roof can be increased considerably,” said Tohulka.
The second phase, slated to begin next summer, will include harvesting rainwater and installing high-efficiency light fixtures, windows and doors as well as solar panels and a wind turbine.
Both phases are part of the Capital Campaign for Sustainability program Bethany launched in May.
About Bethany Christian Schools:
Bethany Christian Schools is a private school for grades 4-12 with about 280 students. The high school was founded in 1954, and is owned and operated by Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference. The schools are located at the south edge of Goshen, Indiana.