Gold standard in green building set for science center

Piez plansSUNY Oswego’s science and associated disciplines will go green with the transformation of Piez Hall as home to them all beginning next year.

The expanded and renovated building will be constructed to the U.S. Green Building Council gold standard for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, said Tom Simmonds, associate vice president for facilities. He said the college will seek LEED certification at that high standard.

LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. It recognizes performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

“This will be our first gold-certified building,” Simmonds said. The Campus Center was built to the LEED silver standard, but the college did not seek certification.

Certification for Piez will be a notable achievement because science buildings typically use four times the energy of regular buildings, Simmonds said.

Renovation of the 47-year-old Piez Hall and construction of an addition that will more than triple its present 80,000 square feet are scheduled to begin in spring 2010 in parallel with renovation of the adjacent Park and Wilber halls as the School of Education complex.

Among the building’s environmentally friendly aspects, the exterior will feature “a terra cotta material made from recycled and reclaimed materials,” Simmonds said, and natural light will infuse the building.

The new connector to the School of Education’s Wilber Hall east of Piez is planned as “a model of a totally green building,” said Casey Raymond of the chemistry faculty, chair of the science planning committee.

This atrium-like space, he said, is planned to include a cafe, a planetarium, and social space with open access computing capability.

It will be adjacent to new lab space in the School of Education’s technology department that may find joint use by that department and engineering or other science programs, said Dean of Education Linda Rae Markert.

The concept of multiple use lab space began with the science planning committee, which has worked to reintegrate disciplines in the new facility to emphasize their commonalities as well as the possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Cannon Design is the architectural firm working on the science building project, which is being bonded through the SUNY Construction Fund. The total cost is estimated at $110 million to $120 million.

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(Posted: Mar 18, 2009)

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