Published in the June 8 – 21, 2016 issue of Morgan Hill Life

By Tim Downer’s fifth-grade class at San Martin/Gwinn

Workers install a Gen7 modular at San Martin/Gwinn Environmental Science Academy. Photo by Kimberly Beare

Workers install a Gen7 modular at San Martin/Gwinn Environmental Science Academy.
Photo by Kimberly Beare

Students who come to San Martin/Gwinn Environmental Science Academy in the fall will experience the new Gen7 School modules where they can learn in brand new “green” classrooms.

The classrooms were installed Friday May 13 at a cost of $1.2 million. The “pre-fab” modules were made in Manteca in a big factory for San Martin/Gwinn. These new Gen7 classrooms are going to be used for sixth through eighth graders. They are environmentally friendly with eco-friendly ventilation and natural lighting.

“We’re going to have facilities that our students can grow into for our middle school. It aligns perfectly with our environmental science program because these buildings are ‘green’ buildings with new ventilation,” said Claudia Olaciregui, principal. “All the materials are natural. They have natural lighting. We just finished participating in an energy conservation program the school joined and this is just a perfect place to transition into.”

Students watched a drone fly over the buildings during the installation as a crane slowly lowered the modules onto the foundations. It was used to see from overhead to make sure the buildings came down correctly.

“These buildings are high performance buildings. They are extremely energy efficient. They have remarkable acoustics,”’ Olaciregui said. “They are meant for permanent construction. Their thermal envelope is so tight the heat can be on low. It takes very little to acclimate a room and then keep (the temperature) there.”

Ericka Shoemaker, northern California business developer for American Modular Systems, said there is a “huge” amount of natural light that comes into the classroom.

“You almost never have to turn the lights on in these classrooms — except at night, of course.”

The fact that there is no fluorescent lighting in the modules means the modules are better for students’ eyes.

“We are really excited to be a part of this community,” Shoemaker said.

The classrooms save energy by using less electricity and this is good for the earth.

Tim Downer’s fifth-grade class wrote this column after a Junior Journalism workshop by Morgan Hill Life Publisher Marty Cheek.

Robert Airoldi