Changing the landscape

Monumental changes are on the horizon for Sonoma Valley schools. With the passing of Measure H and the subsequent selection of a solar provider, the Sonoma Valley Unified School district is moving ahead with the design-build entity of the large, complex and multi-site solar project (see page 2 for the story).

At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, project architects Quattrocchi Kwok Architects laid out the plan for each school site. In the upcoming school year, expect Sonoma Valley High School, as well as the Valley’s other public schools, to look a lot different. At SVHS, 5,000 square feet of solar carport arrays will cover most, if not all, of the high school parking lot. This covered parking will provide shade in the warm weather months but not protection from the rain as the tiny seams between the panels allow precipitation to leak through. But Valley elementary schools will get sun and rain protection in the form of shade structures with solar arrays – good news for many of the K – 5 schools where students eat lunch and play outside much of the time, even in damp or very hot weather.

As an added bonus, an educational component and curriculum support are included in the solar installation with kiosks where students can watch in real time while the sun’s power is harnessed and used on their campus during the school day.

The solar installations coupled with the school gardens being constructed at each school site are an incredible learning opportunity for our students. Careers in green industries are the wave of the future. Simply by absorbing all that is going on around them, Sonoma’s students will be better positioned to enter this work force in earnest. Combine all of this with the new push at the high school to graduate all students ready to enter the University of California/California State University system (story page 3) and it seems that we might be, finally, on the right track.


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