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Aquinas College Awarded LEED Silver Certification for New Building

Aquinas’ new Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building meets high LEED standards

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Indoor track

Grand Rapids, Mich. – Aquinas College’s new Alksnis Athletics & Recreation Building has recently been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC uses LEED certification to designate the world’s greenest, energy-efficient and high-performing buildings.

The 70,000-square-foot athletic space was designed and constructed in collaboration by Integrated Architecture and Rockford Construction. Construction began in November 2013 and was completed in October 2014.

“From the beginning design stages, it was our priority to ensure the new building would meet the high standards of sustainability at Aquinas,” said Director of Sustainability Jessica Eimer. “The LEED Silver certification is an affirmation of our efforts. Because of the many green components included in the design, we are confident future AQ generations will be able to enjoy this new part of campus for years to come.”

The new building was built on a sustainable site. To decrease potable water use, irrigation was not installed and a drought tolerant plant mixture was selected. All of the storm water runoff from the parking lot is treated to remove total suspended solids (TSS) before being discharged into the adjacent stream. This necessary step helps avoid the deposition of nonpoint source pollution into waterways.

The building’s heating system consists of two Absolute Aire E-series direct fired air turnover units utilizing natural gas as the heating source. The E-series units are for reduced environmental impact, increased operating economy, optimized indoor air quality and space comfort.

Aligned with Aquinas College’s Zero Waste effort, waste stations consisting of recycling, composting and trash are located in common areas of the building with appropriate signage, along with Terracycling in the attached building, which upcycles snack bags, candy wrappers and granola bar wrappers. Also aligned with the Zero Waste effort, construction of the building diverted 80 percent of the on-site generated construction waste from landfill.

A portion (over 10 percent) of the building materials were harvested, extracted and manufactured from facilities within 500 miles of Aquinas College. By purchasing materials from regional manufacturers, Aquinas helps support the local economy and reduces the environmental impact of transporting materials to the job site. The construction materials were carefully selected for Alksnis, with recycled content and reuse in mind. Over 35 percent of the materials used contain either post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content.

The Alksnis Building, named for lead donors Greg '71 and Sally Alksnis, accommodates athletic practice and competition, as well as intramural sports, for as many as 11 different sports and provides a 200 meter track. It is also a space that encourages the gathering of community in an effective and purposeful environment to support athletes.