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Monday, Dec 29, 2014

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Schoonover Center

Schoonover Center for Communication

Photographer: Octavio Jones

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Schoonover Center to be largest LEED project


This is the third article in a four-part series on Ohio University's initial LEED building projects.

Formerly the Radio and Television building and the old Baker Center on North Green, the new Schoonover Center for Communication will be Ohio University's second and largest building to pursue LEED-certification.
 
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system that is gaining momentum within institutions of higher education, according to the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). OHIO's three LEED endeavors -- which include renovations to Athens' 15 Park Place and Chillicothe's Technical Studies building -- will add to more than 2,500 LEED projects at colleges and universities nationwide.

The certification, according to president Roderick J. McDavis, is the gold standard of sustainability in action, furthering Ohio University's commitment to environmental stewardship.
 
Named in honor of Steven and Barbara Schoonover’s $7.5 million gift, the Schoonover Center for Communication will consolidate Scripps College of Communication, components of which are currently housed in nine buildings across the Ohio University campus. When complete, the renovated building will house the Dean’s office, the Scripps' five schools and faculty offices and the WOUB Center for Public Media. The college will also retain Scripps Hall and Sing Tao, which will likely house Scripps’ additional centers and initiatives.

“One of the difficult things is taking existing conditions -- an existing building -- and retrofitting it to meet the needs of a changing, more dynamic college than they have been in the past,” said Mike West, OHIO's project manager.  “[It has to] meet the needs of the dean and each of the schools, their directors, and then also fit the LEED requirements for the university.”

According to Lynnette Clouse, LEED accredited project manager in the Office of Design and Construction, the building's urban location in uptown Athens lends itself to LEED points in the area of transportation. 

“We are not going to have new parking, (but) we are going to have bicycle racks, and do a lot of the alternative transportation because we have several bus routes out there,” she explained.

As demolition gets underway, Clouse said the university will accrue additional points by salvaging and recycling materials from the former student center.

According to West, most of the old building's light fixtures have already been sent to surplus to be resold. West is planning on utilizing independent recycling companies for things like carpets and finding different avenues to get rid of wood and other construction materials. The easiest of his recycling duties will be scrap metal, due to its high reuse value, he said.

Similar to the other LEED projects being undertaken by Ohio University, the Schoonover Center will take advantage of natural light when practical, be less energy intensive and use high efficiency water fixtures. One particular feature is being investigated which may set this project apart, however: a “green” or vegetated roof.

Vegetated roofs are living carpets of plant material which provide a number of environmental and efficiency benefits. They serve to insulate the building in both hot and cold weather, absorb rainwater, and extend the life of the roof’s surface. The plants can also improve air quality in the area by filtering airborne contaminants.

West and Clouse will be joining forces on the Schoonover Center with The Collaborative, a group of green architects, landscape architects, planners and interior designers based in Toledo, Ohio. The company places a high value on the concept of sustainability, and several members of their staff are LEED accredited professionals, according to the company's website.

The Schoonover renovation will be completed in two phases, with a total budget of $33.5 million. Phase one, which began with the removal of asbestos in Old Baker, is scheduled to be completed by fall 2012.

The fourth and final part of this series will focus on LEED certification on Ohio University’s Chillicothe campus. Look for it June 9. For more information on the university’s commitment to LEED certification, click here. For information on 15 Park Place, another of OHIO's LEED endeavors, click here.