The Olney Friends School unveiled plans for a $2 million, environmentally-friendly addition to its campus at a "Focus the Nation" event at the school last Thursday.

Head of School Rich Sidwell and architects Gus Kayafas, principal architect and Tim Crowley, project manager of Constantine Kayafas Architects of Wheeling unveiled the design plans for a 14-square foot, LEED-certified activity center that will include a gymnasium, five classrooms, two offices, rest rooms and locker rooms.

"We are taking a modest, practical approach, so that funds may be diverted to long-run energy efficiency," Kayafas said.

He said the goals and needs of the school and its students have helped refine the design.

The school was founded in 1837 by the Ohio Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). Because the campus was recently added to the National Register of Historical Places along with the Meeting House, the project's design team includes an Historical Preservation Architect. The building floor plan will also be flexible to accommodate multiple uses and unanticipated needs.

Kayafas said three other sites on the campus were considered for the building, but the site in the hillside where a greenhouse now stands, was chosen for many reasons including proximity to a pond which will be utilized for geo-thermal heating. Solar power will also be utilized in the building. The site was also chosen for its excellent soil retention.

He said the number of trees that would have to be removed was also a site consideration. Kayafas said the pond site was also chosen for its beautiful view.

The chosen site, which will eliminate the parking lot, will serve to unify the campus both spatially and visually, using a common brick color. The main hall will also gain handicap access.

Crowley said the goal of "green" building is to use less energy, less water, fewer natural resources, create less waste and be healthier for the occupants.

Crowley said the United States Green Building Council was formed in 1993 to promote green and sustainable building and to develop a system of measurement. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a nationally accredited rating system for green building.