The Willow School in Gladstone, New Jersey is one of only two independent schools in the country that is LEED certified. Situated in the beautiful New Jersey countryside on a spectacular 34-acre forested site, the school fully embraces its surroundings and incorporates them into all aspects of the curriculum. The grounds preserve the natural beauty of the area, with design features that include many outdoor learning spaces and constructed wetlands for the filtration of wastewater that provide for the return of clean water to the groundwater system.
Phase I of the school’s master site plan — involving the construction of a 13,500 square foot classroom building and site infrastructure including roadways, parking lots, and landscaping — was completed in September 2003.
With natural wood siding and barn-like roof, the building conforms to the rural character of the surrounding neighborhood. The grounds include gardens and woodlands for environmental study.
The interior consists of spacious classrooms to an average of 12 students per grade, along with a teacher’s lounge, a morning gathering space, and interior play space. Each classroom opens directly onto the surrounding grounds to facilitate both recreation and field studies as an integral part of the daily curriculum.
The overall building includes the latest in environmentally-sensitive and energy-efficient design. Clerestories provide passive-solar heating, supplemented by geothermal heating and cooling systems. Rain water runoff and grey water are recycled to maintain the surrounding plantings, and the remaining wastes are processed in the most environmental methods available.