Sustainable Designs in Progress

Construction in the former Shields Center and Health and Physical Education building has been progressing steadily throughout winter. Photo Credit: Ashley Proietto

By Ashley Proietto
Staff Writer

As you look at your schedule of the start of the spring semester; you will notice that some of your classes are moved to the Liberal Arts building; which would normally be in the Shields Center or Health and Physical Building. This is because Marywood University is going under construction for the future architecture building coming in the 2009 fall semester. This building of Marywood University is now being reconstructed into a “GREEN” building also known as sustainable design.

Sustainable design is a method which reduces the use of non-renewable resources and minimizes environmental impact. Which introduces the reader to L.E.E.D, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); the L.E.E.D provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction and encourages many architects to take this development into their practices. In other words, while constructing new buildings architects must take the environment into consideration, according to the Times-Tribune, “Organizers believe it will be one of the only programs in the U.S. that focuses on greed design and requires students to become professionally certified in L.E.E.D, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a green building rating system.”

Mr. Gregory K. Hunt, the Founding Dean of Marywood School of Architecture, is making this possible right here on campus. There are three dumpsters in front of the Shields Center for recycling, Metal, Rubble, and Trash. While working on this project, construction workers are separating and saving the rubbish that they tear down from the old building and recycling it; the new building will have a vegetated roof for increasing thermal insulation; a system for capturing rainwater from the roof to supply water for toilets; a passive cooling system employing innovative “chilled beam” technology; bamboo desk tops; and more importantly the preservation of the maple floor of the current gymnasium area. These are just some of the ways the design of the building is taking the environment into consideration.

The new building will definitely have an impact on campus; the building will showcase the students of architectures’ work. “Anybody will be able to walk through the halls and it will hopefully educate them while looking at the pieces.” Mr. Hunt stated. “The gymnasium will become a two-story commons, a flexible space for discussions, displays and project critiques,” stated by the Times-Tribune. “This professional school will play a vital role in the advancement of higher education in Northeast Pennsylvania. We will be preparing a new generation of architects focused on environmental stewardship and sustainability,” Sister Anne Munley, IHM, Ph.D. President of the University.

The degrees that will be available for the upcoming fall semester enrolled architecture students will be a pre-professional degree, Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture (B.E.D.A), a four-year undergraduate program, professional degree program, which includes the five-year Bachelor of Architecture (B. Arch) and a six-year Master of Architecture degree (M Arch). According to the magazine of Marywood University, there are many of “Green” influences around campus, If you haven’t already spotted them out while on your way to class, here are just some of them, “National Arboretum, The University’s campus was given this designation in 1997, one of just 89 such designations in the nation, by the American Public Gardens Association. More than 100 types of trees and foliage are managed on the campus arboretum, in the interest of scholarship as well as species preservations. The university recently purchased an electric-powered van, called the “Van Go,” for campus transportation and security and also Annual Report goes Green, by changing to an online-only presentation of the President’s Annual Report, the University is reducing its carbon footprint, saving trees, water, energy, and solid waste.”

“This is in keeping with the I.H.M. mission, the Marywood mission,” Sister Munley said. “It’s another way [students] will really be better equipped to make a substantial difference in the community.” I was able to take a walk into the Health and Physical building with the clerk of the works, Dave Mancuso. The construction is coming along and on schedule. I was able to take some pictures and it’s amazing the transformation of some of the health classes and the gym.