Coveted parking spaces are no longer just for the handicapped or employees of the month.
The new building for Vegas PBS, KLVX-TV, Channel 10, has 28 parking spaces for hybrid vehicles and another 11 spots for car-poolers.
By providing incentives for fuel efficiency, the TV studio and public school facility will accrue credit toward a gold classification under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards.
The total, all-inclusive price tag for the Vegas PBS Educational Technology Campus, 3050 Flamingo Road at McLeod Drive, is $60 million, but Vegas PBS Manager Tom Axtell notes that it was built with efficiency in mind.
"It's my personal belief, but I think energy costs will skyrocket in the future, especially when this recession is over," Axtell said. "The last thing I want to do as the general manager of a nonprofit is to hold a pledge drive to pay down our utility bill."
Conservation and environmental design features account for 6 percent, $2.7 million, of the $45 million construction costs. Axtell estimates the payback will be six years or less because of savings from reduced energy costs.
Solar panels are expected to provide 15 percent of the building's power. Geothermal wells will cool the air. Systems are in place to reduce water consumption and shade the building from too much sunlight.
Public transportation is accommodated with a convenient bus stop.
There is a bicycle rack by the front door for bicycle commuters, who can wash off sweat in showers that will also serve TV performers freshening up for broadcast.
Built to surpass the standards of California's earthquake building code, the rectangular building "will sway as a block during an earthquake and retain its structural integrity," Axtell predicted.
Because it has its own fuel tank, Vegas PBS could operate for a week if power was cut off. The facility is expected to serve as a county communications relay center in the event of a natural catastrophe or terrorist attack.
The project is a joint venture of the Clark County School District and Vegas PBS because half of the 112,000-square-foot building will house the district's online education facilities and virtual high school. Students will frequent the center to meet teachers, perform lab experiments and participate in group activities.
The school district is funding its $30 million portion with proceeds from the school construction bond passed in 1998, which will be depleted in 2010. Vegas PBS has raised $18 million by leasing broadcast spectrum space to cell phone companies and the other $12 million from a capital campaign.
The facility won't open to the public until August. For those who want a sneak peek or want to help pay down the cost of a solar panel, tickets of $150 apiece can be purchased to a 40th anniversary celebration of Vegas PBS on April 4.
Because the building is considered school property, the Clark County School Board had to pass an exemption before alcohol could be served in the studio during PBS fundraisers.
The Northwest Career & Technical Academy, 8200 W. Tropical Parkway, meets the basic standards of a green building. Because of higher costs, school buildings are not built to the same gold standard specifications as Vegas PBS, district officials said.
Green design elements are incorporated when feasible. Geothermal wells 300 feet deep, for instance, are being dug for the new West Career and Technical Academy. The school on Charleston Boulevard just west of the Las Vegas Beltway is scheduled to open in fall 2010. The campus will also feature natural, desert landscaping.
The Vegas PBS building design is so innovative that educators consider it a teaching tool.
The vocational "students will be studying their own building," said Michael Rodriguez, a district spokesman.
Contact reporter James Haug at jhaug@ reviewjournal.com or 702-374-7917.