Charles Vrana and Son construction Company Omaha, Nebraska
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Omaha North High School is first educational facility in Nebraska to be certified under the LEED for Schools rating system

Omaha-based Vrana Construction announced today that Omaha North High School earned LEED Silver certification. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) notified the project team that the four-story addition constructed for Omaha North High School in Omaha, Neb., recently earned LEED Silver certification. The addition is the first facility in Nebraska to earn LEED certification under the LEED for Schools rating system which was implemented by the USGBC in 2009.

Omaha North High School is a magnet school serving students in grades nine through twelve specializing in the fields of science, engineering and technology. Faced with an expanding enrollment, the school which was built in 1922 has had major additions and renovations and was still in need of new learning areas. The new addition was funded by donations from local citizens and foundations.  The project architect, RDG Planning & Design, encouraged North High students to participate in the preliminary design. The project incorporated sustainable building materials that produced a productive learning environment. Omaha Public Schools hired Vrana Construction as the construction manager on the project. Founded in 1909, Vrana Construction provides general contracting and construction management services.  Vrana provides services in the commercial building market and in the heavy civil market.

The four-story, 32,092-square-foot addition to Omaha North High School primarily consists of science classrooms and labs but also serves the school's media technology and engineering programs. Specific features of the addition that helped garner the Silver certification include:

  • The installation of 81 percent of wood harvested from FSC-certified sources
  • A two-story greenhouse, which opens onto a green roof that is completely covered by SRI-compliant material and can be used as a secondary teaching space
  • Water-efficient landscaping where rainwater provides 100 percent of the irrigation needs
  • Low-flow sinks and dual-flush toilets that help further reduce the school's potable water use by 43 percent
  • The use of low-emitting paints, coatings, adhesives, sealants, flooring materials and composite woods to reduce VOC emissions and improve indoor air quality
  • Development and implementation of an indoor air quality program to reduce the amount of air contaminants released during the construction phas


Nearly 19 percent of the building materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the jobsite, and 32 percent of the

building materials contained recycled content. Vrana was also able to divert 87 percent of the construction waste from the landfill; instead, recycling scrap metal, concrete, asphalt, wood, drywall, cardboard packaging and landscaping waste. Because of its sustainable design, Omaha North High School is now enjoying a 20 percent reduction in energy use. The school has created a space-sharing agreement with local non-profits to allow use of the wrestling room, conference room, student gallery and roof garden. Omaha Public Schools has also incorporated sustainability into its technical curriculum, and the building will be used to illustrate the principles they are teaching.




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