2nd Building Certified LEED Gold at Fort Lewis College

Mar 15th @ 9:56 am in News by Scott Staley

DURANGO, CO – There’s another green building at Fort Lewis College as the new Biology wing of Berndt Hall was certified LEED® Gold in January. The Biology wing is the second new building to earn LEED Gold status after Animas Hall, the College’s newest residence hall, was certified last year.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was created by the U.S. Green Building Council. Buildings pursuing a LEED certification are built to high environmental standards in areas such as energy use, lighting, water and materials. A LEED Gold standard is the second highest certification available.

Some of the environmentally-friendly aspects of the new building include maximizing open space, planting water efficient landscaping, using energy from renewable sources, and using regional and recycled building materials.

“The building exterior utilizes the material palette of the adjacent and nearby buildings, primarily natural sandstone, stucco, and standing seam metal roofs,” explains David Harmon, an associate with AndersonMasonDale, the architects of the new Biology wing. “The generously proportioned and numerous windows include double pane, low-E insulated glass assemblies housed primarily in thermally broken aluminum storefront and curtain wall frames. Primary interior finishes include gypsum board coated with low-VOC paints, recycled content carpeting and burnished concrete floors.

“The mechanical system utilizes a solar wall air pre-heat system, heat recovery units and indirect evaporative cooling. Water use is reduced by the use of motion sensing low-flow faucets and low-flow toilets and urinals. The lighting system employs occupancy sensors and daylight sensors to reduce unnecessary illumination.”

Both of Fort Lewis College’s LEED Gold buildings go along with the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which former FLC President Brad Bartel signed in 2007.

The new Biology facility at Fort Lewis College was completed in February 2010 and stretches more than 33,000 square feet, almost three times larger than the old wing. The majority of the funding for the approximately $17 million building came from the state, which turned out to be a long and sometimes nerve-wracking process.

The money for a new Biology wing had originally been set aside by the state in 2000, but an economic downturn put the project on hold. In 2007, state money was again available and construction began, but again the bottom fell out of the economy and the new wing was put in jeopardy. In late 2008, Governor Ritter’s office released a list of state capital construction projects that would have their funding frozen. The list included FLC’s Biology building.

The biggest problem with the new wing having its funding frozen was the fact that the old wing had already been demolished. At the time the Governor’s list came out, Berndt Hall had been cut in two by a gaping hole in the ground where the new wing was slated to go up. After a few nervous weeks, the Governor’s office announced that the funding for the FLC Biology project would be made available again and construction moved ahead.

The Biology program at Fort Lewis College is one of the institution’s most popular and strongest degree programs.

“I am thrilled to be the dean that got to watch this building become a reality,” Dr. Maureen Brandon, dean of the FLC School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences, said when the building opened last year. “The Biology wing of Berndt Hall is a modern, spacious facility for our teaching and student research labs. We were lucky to obtain grant funding to be able to fill the labs with state-of-the-art equipment that will enhance the quality of the educational experience for our students and marketability for our graduates.”

For more information on the green aspects of FLC’s Biology wing, visit http://www.fortlewis.edu/shared/content/news/BioGreenBuildingProfile.pdf.