RVC’s physical Education Center awarded LEED Gold Certification

Additions to Rock Valley College's Physical Education Center now house a new state-of-the-art Fitness Lab and Dance Studio and new sunlit faculty offices. Photo provided

From press release

The recently-renovated and expanded Physical Education Center (PEC) at Rock Valley College’s (RVC) main campus has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Level Certification for sustainable and green design by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC is an organization that encourages and promotes sustainable, efficient and healthy building design and operation.

RVC’s Physical Education Center is not only the first LEED Gold Certified facility in Winnebago County but the first Illinois Community College facility to achieve Gold Level Certification. This high level of achievement reflects an assessment of the facility and its operations by the USGBC on factors such as site and landscaping design, water and energy efficiency, use of sustainable materials and resources, recycling of construction waste, indoor air quality and innovative green design. To reach Gold Level, a minimum of 39 points were needed, and the PEC achieved 44 points.

The exterior of the recently-renovated and expanded Physical Education Center (PEC) at Rock Valley College's (RVC) main campus. Photo provided

The $13 million project completely renovated and updated the building’s 40-year-old infrastructure, athletic facilities and classrooms. Additions to the facility now house a new state-of-the-art Fitness Lab and Dance Studio and new sunlit faculty offices. All of these functions had formerly resided in windowless spaces in the lower level. The renovations also include new hi-tech “smart” classrooms and lecture spaces. Key green and sustainable features of the project include the following:

→ 1.6 acres of Native Prairie plantings.

→ Preferred parking spaces for Low Emission Vehicles (LEV).

→ Reduction of light pollution from parking and building lights.

→ 56 percent water use reduction by utilizing low-flow toilets, showers and faucets

→ Use of a highly-efficient heating and air conditioning system

→ Use of an energy recovery system in the exhaust air steam.

→ Careful collection and sorting of recyclable construction waste.

→ More than 75 percent of construction waste was recycled and diverted from the landfill.

→ 95 percent of existing building shell was reused in the new design.

→ Use of new construction materials containing recycled content.

→ Use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified wood products ensured that wood products were sustainably grown and harvested.

→ An Indoor Air Quality Management Program was utilized during construction and occupancy.

→ Use of Low Emitting adhesives, paints, carpet and composite wood products.

→ Automatic daylight controls were utilized in offices and the Fitness Lab that turn off lights when there is sufficient daylight.

→ Use of energy-efficient light fixtures and lamps throughout the facility.

→ A Sustainable Education Program was developed that educates building occupants about the building’s “green” features.

The facility was designed by the Rockford firm of Saavedra Gehlhausen Architects in association with Demonica Kemper Architects, Chicago, as well as a dedicated team of consultants and RVC faculty and staff. The project was constructed by local builder Sjostrom and Sons Construction Company.

RVC has been a leader in energy conservation and waste recycling for many years, but recently the RVC Board of Trustees made a formal commitment to be a community leader in sustainability, not only through green design and LEED certification of all future RVC buildings, but in their philosophy of day-to-day college operations through the implementation of programs ranging from waste recycling to the use of “green” cleaning products.

Dr. Jack Becherer, RVC president, said: “We are proud that Rock Valley College has achieved this status with this project. It demonstrates the commitment of all levels of the institution toward sustainability and models that commitment to our students.”

From the May 19-25, 2010 issue

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