The renovation of the squash court building adjacent to the Usdan University Center is on track to be completed by January 2012. The building will house the Career Resource Center (CRC), the College of Letters (COL) and the Art History department. The renovation will cost $8.6 million and the new building is on target to receive LEED Gold Certification, which is awarded for sustainable building design and operation.

“[Three] walls (North, South and East) of the original building are being saved as well as the roof, basement and much of the structure,” wrote Associate Vice President for Facilities Joyce Topshe in an email to The Argus.

FIP Construction of Farmington, Conn. began work on the building in January and recently began pouring concrete footings and foundations. According to Project Manager Alan Rubacha, nearly 90 percent of the demolition debris will be recycled. Rubacha noted that the renovation is being conducted in an environmentally friendly manner.

“We are reusing 75 percent of the original building,” he wrote in an email to The Argus. “The use of an existing building and the removal of lead and asbestos is a sustainable design practice.”

The completed building will also feature a more efficient storm water management system, water efficient landscaping, a 30 percent water use reduction, enhanced indoor air quality, a green cleaning policy, and a green education component. A green roof design, where vegetation would be planted on the roof, is under consideration. According to Rubacha, the project will use 25-30 percent less energy than a comparable structure because of the planned energy-saving features. The sustainable aspects of the building only slightly raised the cost of the project, Rubacha said.

“The project was designed with sustainable features from the inception of the project,” he wrote. “These features do not significantly raise the cost of the project—we believe between two and five percent.”

According to President Michael Roth, the construction process is going well so far.

“It’s on time, no major glitches, the budget looks good and we expect to open in January still,” he said. “It’s more expensive than I had hoped for initially because of a lot of plumbing.”

The project was funded by alumni donations that will be announced before the building opens next spring.

“This renovation project has been extremely attractive to our donors,” wrote Vice President for University Relations Barbara-Jan Wilson in an email to The Argus. “We have gifts and pledges of over $10 million dollars, including a leadership gift (multi millions) to name the Career Resource Center from an alum who wishes to remain anonymous for the time being.”

Alumni have also stepped forward to fund the classrooms and offices inside the new building.

“We also have a $500,000 gift to name the COL Library in honor of the COL faculty,” Wilson wrote. “We have many gifts between $50,000 and $100,000 to name the lecture rooms and offices within the building.”

As measured by LEED Version 3.0, the new building has 64 points—which are awarded based on a checklist of sustainable practices—which puts it in the 60-79 point range needed to achieve Gold Certification. The only higher level of certification is Platinum, which requires 80 or more points.

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