City Heights is now a globally recognized community, as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has given a platinum certification to the Living Lab at Ocean Discovery.
The most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED certifications are recognized globally for sustainability achievement and leadership in highly efficient, cost-saving green buildings. Ocean Discovery's Living Lab earned its certification on April 29.
The Living Lab serves about 6,000 students from San Diego Unified School District each year — during and after school — and has seen positive outcomes for students, and diversity in the science and environmental workforce. Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Scripps Institute of Oceanography, and other partners also conduct research with students, supporting the community with science and conservation education.
The modern, two-story facility features two science labs, wall-to-wall screens that live stream the view of the coastline, "The Leadership Pathway" that highlights student achievements, and a kitchen to promote health sciences. An additional 35,000 square feet of outdoor features are also included.
"This Living Lab is another major investment in City Heights that helps our students succeed, while also giving back to the community," Board of Education President Richard Barrera said. "That's all thanks to our taxpayers and to those local investors who believed enough in our students to fund the Living Lab."
"Receiving the Platinum LEED certification was made possible because so many people believed in this project, in the community of City Heights, and in our students. The Living Lab is the only Platinum LEED-certified building in City Heights and is just another way that we continue to set the high expectations our students deserve," said Shara Fisler, Founder and Executive Director.
Completed in 2018, the Living Lab was one of three major projects in the Hoover cluster to uplift the neighborhood. Hoover High School's new classroom and theater building finished in August 2020, while the Central Wilson Rebuild project is still underway.
As an Ocean Discovery partner, San Diego Unified invested $10 million from local Proposition Z to the Living Lab. An additional $7 million came from other agencies and private support donors, including California State Parks, California Coastal Conservancy, the City of San Diego, Cox Communications and Cisco Systems, the Walter J. and Betty C. Zable Foundation, Price Philanthropies, and more.
The Living Lab earned its LEED Platinum Certification on April 29. To commemorate the elite designation, Ocean Discovery has ordered a plaque that will later be displayed within the facility.