Living Classroom & Greenhouse

Old Trail School

Hasenstab Architects provided architectural services for the Living Classroom & Greenhouse at Old Trail School in Bath, Ohio. This was the first phase of Old Trail School’s Center for Environmental Sustainability.

Surrounded by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the Living Classroom & Greenhouse aids in the ongoing development of the school’s sustainable educational philosophies by providing space for science classes and experiments. Inside the greenhouse, a computerized, self-modulating environmental control system regulates the temperature and humidity, maintaining a static environment throughout the seasons.

Replacing the school’s current wastewater system is a Living Machine system, which operates like an engineered wetland, significantly less energy. The design imitates the surrounding environment of the greenhouse – in the form of horizontal flow wetlands, vertical flow wetlands, a primary tank, and various vaults and equipment. In addition to being located partially in the greenhouse, the system is located partially underground and partially in a wetland area next to the greenhouse, and ends at a tributary nearby. Included is a small demonstration pond and a tidal wetland column for in-classroom learning. The Living Machine is also accessible via the Internet for remote learning and monitoring.

This is the second and largest project of its kind in Ohio and one of approximately 20 in the United States. 

The Living Classroom and Greenhouse supports hands-on lessons in ecology, agriculture, architecture, aquaculture, engineering and environmental sustainability for grades 1-8.

Photo Credit: © 2009 Scott Pease Photography

More Projects