Greensburg Trip – Kiowa County School District (USD 422) Part 1

Posted: November 8, 2010 in Being Green, Green Technology

The last building we were able to visit was the newly built Kiowa County School (USD 422).  I’ve segregated this into two parts with Part 1 concentrating on the exterior and landscaping.  Part 2 will be about the building itself and classrooms.

Passive & Active Systems:

  • Rainwater Collection of roof rainwater runoff through the use of one 10k gallon above ground cistern and a 50k gallon underground cistern which provides water for landscaping and dual flush toilets.
  • Waterless urinals are also in use saving 1/2 a gallon per flush (they flush automatically after a certain amount of uses).
  • Rainwater catch basin to provide irrigation for front landscaping.
  • Natural / Native plant species that are drought tolerant and require little watering
  • Artificial Turf Field (requires no watering) and 50kW wind turbine.


A local racing enthusiast (Greg Pfau) helped work on the landscaping for this project so I spent a lot of time looking it over and learning about it.  Drought tolerant plants and native grasses (buffalo grass) are planted to conserve water usage.  This area gets only 18-19 inches of rain annually and cannot support fescue or blue grass that we normally see.  Buffalo grass stays brown in fall /spring but greens up during summer months from the heat (its primary season).  Buffalo grass is hard to get started though as the first 2 years it looks sparse and like it is not doing well – when in fact it is growing proper root structure deep into the ground (than normal grass / sod) to handle drought type weather.  It got its name b/c Buffalos primarily ate this grass on the prairies.

View from Football Field / Track with Wind Turbine

Main Entrance

Close up of rainwater catch basin (lowest point for rainwater collection)

Picture of Catch Basin looking up towards the School

Prairie Grass Landscaping (requires very little water)

Another Picture of Native Grasses

East Facing from Bridge over Catch Basin

Start of Catch Basin on South Side of School

From Main Entrance (South) of Other Natural Grasses

Playground Area

The playground also uses native landscaping with drought tolerant plants and it has a rainwater runoff collection systems that run it through above ground gutters to run water over to the 50k gallon cistern.  The shape of the buildings is to reduce heat island effect by having the school as a horseshoe shape facing north to limit sun exposure.  Outdoor section of cafeteria lets students enjoy eating outside but cafeteria also has full window wall to let in light.

Student Area with Playground and Cafeteria - backs up to Library

Roof Runoff Collection Gutter

Playground w/ Slides

Quincy playing on slide that was made with salvaged metal.

Q on a Strange Merrygoround

North Side of Student Area / Playground

Outdoor Cafeteria

10k Gallon Cistern

Shaded School Observation Deck

  1. Donna Ranieri says:

    Hi. Would love to use your images for a college biology textbook which discusses Greensburg. Could I contact you directly for permission?

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