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Sustainable Development Strategies

Student Union Addition at Fort Lewis College

Located in Durango, Colorado, Fort Lewis College (FLC) is a public college that offers high quality baccalaureate liberal arts education to a diverse student population. The 2011 edition of The Princeton Review’s Guide to 311 Green Colleges profiled FLC for its demonstration of strong commitment to sustainability in its academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation.

Student Union Addition at Fort Lewis College College administration and student leadership recognized the need to replace the aging 1967 College Union Building. Students led the charge by instituting a new student fee to ensure a vibrant hub to energize the on-campus experience. The Student Union Addition is located to the south of the existing Union, connected by a one-story link. The addition is built into the existing topography, with one story embedded in the slope, and two stories above grade. The addition houses the main dining hall, a group dining/event space, the Rocket Grill, an industrial kitchen, servery, and support spaces for food service activities. The building occupies a footprint of 25,700 square feet with a total gross square footage of 39,924 and opened its doors to diners in August 2010.

Rocket Grill sign in Student Union Addition at Fort Lewis College The Student Union Addition earned LEED Gold in August 2011, making it the third building on Fort Lewis College’s campus to earn LEED certification. Pursuit of LEED certification for Berndt Hall is an outcome of former President Brad Bartel’s signing of the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) in April 2007. The project incorporates numerous integrated green building strategies including a vegetated roof, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic systems, solar shading through proper building orientation, overhangs, and massing, demand controlled ventilation, variable speed kitchen hood exhaust fans, energy demand sub-metering, extensive use of daylight, water-conserving fixtures and equipment, and sustainable materials use. A green building profile created as part of a Green Building Education innovation credit for the project’s LEED certification details the specific high performance building approaches.

From 2007 – 2011, Earthly Ideas consulted with Fort Lewis College on LEED certification for the Student Union Addition, Berndt Hall Reconstruction for Biology, and Animas Hall. We coordinated sustainability efforts among these three projects and assisted with the development of campus-wide sustainability initiatives in support of the campus’ Sustainability Action Plan. We also assisted FLC staff in developing their LEED documentation for these initiatives. As part of the Green Building Education innovation credit, we worked closely with FLC students, faculty, and staff to develop a coordinated signage program with consistent imaging and specific messages related to the green building features of each building. While informing occupants on a daily basis, the signs can be used by visitors as a self-guided tour. Managing Principal Michelle Reott has been a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Environmental Affairs at FLC since 2004.