Sarah Justin has routinely passed the round plaque while walking to class in the Science and Academic Building on the TCC Southeast campus with no idea what it meant. Now she knows.
And she’s markedly impressed. “I didn’t know it meant that this was a green building all throughout,” she said Wednesday. “Actually, I don’t think many of my friends know about that either.”
They will now. Representatives of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) North Texas Chapter were on campus Wednesday to recognize the 114,519-square-foot building for its environmental features during a ceremony held in the building lobby.
The Science and Academic Building that opened last spring for computer science, speech and laboratory sciences classes has achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation for green building practices. To receive the prestigious LEED Gold designation, TCC Southeast incorporated an exceptional number of green strategies to protect the Earth’s natural resources into the building construction.
TCC Chancellor Erma Johnson-Hadley, Southeast Campus President William Coppola, and Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck were on hand for the reception.
“This is a celebration for us,” said Coppola. “This award is further recognition of our commitment to protecting the environment and providing an atmosphere for our students that promotes sustainable practices. To have a building of this stature, earning this kind of honor is a big deal for TCC.”
The building, which sits on the southeastern edge of campus, was first envisioned in 2004 as a means to meet growth demands of a campus that has swelled to 15,000 students since opening in 1996.
SHW Group Senior Architect Jeremy Theodore said that 70 percent of the power the building uses will be from green sources of some kind. “Nearly 30 percent of material used for the building was recycled with nearly 50 percent of that coming from local or regional sources,” he said. “That’s pretty impressive.”
Mayor Cluck took the opportunity to talk about the impact of this and other green buildings throughout Arlington.
“The City of Arlington is proud of this designation,” said Mayor Cluck. “Every building we build in Arlington will be green. We think that’s a major step in the right direction of thinking about our overall health.”
Johnson-Hadley, who said being in the building “is as close to nature as you can get,” hopes it’s a major step in educating more students on the ways of green.
“Imagine how many of our students will pass by and see the U.S. Green Building plaque on the wall,” she said. “They won’t know what it is or what it means but the curious will find out. It will encourage them to help the environment. I see this as great conversation starter.”
By Kenneth Perkins