Pickwick playground

OTTUMWA — The Pickwick Early Childhood Center was named a top energy-efficient building by Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy.

“I cannot tell you I thought we’d win an award,” said Ottumwa Superintendent Nicole Kooiker. “So when I got the email with the congratulations, I was pretty excited.”

Alliant and MidAmerican select 10 Iowa commercial buildings and their designers for their annual Excellence in Energy-Efficient Design Award. Pickwick was only one of two schools that appeared on the list for 2019.

Selections for the list are judged primarily by how much energy they saved per square foot. Pickwick had a rate of 48 percent annual savings, making it the third-most efficient building on the list. Kooiker said that energy efficiency was something the district had wanted from the start. The building’s designers, FRK Architects and Bluestone Engineering, strive to make their buildings energy efficient.

“I think it’s important for our environment, but I also think it’s important for ongoing costs for our district and our system,” Kooiker said. “Any time we can be more efficient I think is wise.”

The building that was once Pickwick Elementary School was closed in 2014 and demolished shortly after. The Pickwick Early Childhood Center, a preschool for the Ottumwa district, was constructed in the same location. It opened in 2018 and is at capacity for the 2019-2020 school year.

Kooiker said that energy efficiency is one of the factors the district is taking into account in its plans to construct a new north-side elementary school.

The awards were given out at a ceremony held by the American Institute of Architects in Des Moines Sept. 26.

Jack Langland can be reached at jlangland@ottumwacourier.com.

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