© 2024 WGLT
A public service of Illinois State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

District 87 Gets National Sustainability Award

District 87 sign outside Bloomington Junior High School.
Eric Stock
District 87's green energy efforts have earned it a national honor.

District 87's sustainability efforts are getting national attention.
The U.S. Department of Education has named the Bloomington-based school system a green ribbon school district for its efforts to improve energy efficiency, reduce waste and increase the health and fitness of students and staff.

“This award is a reflection of many across the district who are dedicated to helping our students and community understand the importance of taking care of the environment around us,” said Superintendent Barry Reilly.

Colin Manahan
Credit District 87
District 87 Financial and Facilities Officer Colin Manahan said the district's green energy initiatives have been phased in over the last 20 years as the district replacing aging equipment.

Chief Financial and Facilities Officer Colin Manahan said much of the district's schools had to be modernized in recent years—and that presented the opportunity to think green.

“It’s a blend of doing what’s right and the stars seemed to have aligned when we look at the work we need to do because we had aging equipment, aging HVAC controls, etc.,” Manahan said.

Manahan added the district laid the groundwork 20 years ago, back at a time when many of its schools lacked air conditioning.

“Twenty years ago and it’s about when I came on board, we started a comprehensive facilities management program to upgrade our facilities,” Manahan said. “One could argue we hadn’t done much prior to that in quite a while, and we’ve done a substantial amount of work from the early 2000s to today.”

The district has cut its electric and gas use since 2015, saving more than $500,000 annually, while heating and cooling upgrades at four of its buildings have saved the district about $155,000 per year.

The award also honors the district for its health initiative at each of its schools, including morning yoga, a Heart Start programwhere students get walking and running around the gym before school and weekend fitness activities for students, staff and families.

District 87 is among 53 awardees nationwide that will be honored at a ceremony Sept. 25 in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Commerce and on Capitol Hill.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.