First, there was Terraset, Fairfax County's futureistic schoolhouse that is buried in earth to be heated and cooled by the ground and the sun.
Now there's the Terraset Foundation, an organization being formed to administer to the unusual needs of the Reston elementry school.
School officials say Terraset school, Which opened its doors to studens in February, has attracted so much attention Worldwide that it is becoming a burden on school staff who must answer continual requests for information and schedule visits to the school while running the day-to-day business of education.
The Terraset Foundation, expected to be funded by several sources, plans to monitor the school's sophisticated heating and cooling systems to "according to Alton C.Hilavin, director of design and construction for Fairfax schools.
The foundation also will collect data on the school's operation to reply to information requests and make sure that this data is included in information banks on the operation of solar heated structures.
In addition, the foundation may hire a technician "capable of understanding and explaining the school's innovative system to visitors,"Hlavin said. It also may construct a small visitors center on the school grounds for audio-visual Presentations onthe operation of Terraset, he added.
The foundation hopes to sponsor workshops and seminars for visiting scholars, scientists and engineers that the organization plans to attract to Terraset.
"This visiting to the school has got to be organized," Hlavin said. "The number of people coming to see the school is beginning to be disruptive to the school's schedule."
Hlavin, Who recently asked the school board to allow him to participate in forming thefoundation,as the organization's chairman of the board of directors, says the Energy Research and Development Administration "has given positive indications" that it might provide funding for the foundation. Hlavin said he expecsts ERDA to provide between $150,000 and $200,000.
He added that he expects Saudi Arabia, Which provided $650,000 to create Terraset's heating and cooling system, to provide "perhaps $50,000 minimum, more likley $100,000" for the foundation's first year of operation.
Other funding is expected to come from other public and private sources, Hlavin said.
"It (the Terraset Foundation) will be a private, nonprofit educational foundation," Hlavin explained. "It will allow us to expand what alreadyhas been accomplished at the school and share that information with others - all at no cost to Fairfax schools."