A Silver Upgrade

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A Silver Upgrade

1950s-era Education Building gets an addition and upgrades

It is hard to know what Dr. Dan Rice, ’84, ’86, is most proud of when you talk to the dean of UND’s College of Education and Human Development about the new addition and remodeled Education Building that comes online as students return for the Fall 2011 semester.

Certainly he is proud that UND will have one of the “greenest” academic buildings in North Dakota. Designed by JLG Architects Ltd. of Grand Forks and built to LEED Silver standards, the Education Building and addition will incorporate the newest concepts in sustainability and environmental consciousness of any higher education teaching and research building in the state. And, the frugal dean points out, these features will yield tremendous cost savings over time. The project was designed for optimized energy efficiency — up to 24 percent less energy use than other buildings of comparable size and type.

The new LEED certified Education Building

To say that the building needed remodeling is an understatement. Until the work began, it looked much like it did when it opened in 1954 — but with more than a half-century of significant wear and tear.

Of course, he takes great pride in the “connectedness” of the addition and the building. The addition physically bridges the Education Building with Gillette Hall, which houses many of the College’s programs. Rice likes the way the addition literally and conceptually ties the two buildings. Students, he says, will no longer have to go outside in the winter to go from one building to the other.

To Rice, “connectedness” also means advanced technology features, including wireless Internet throughout the building; interactive projectors for every classroom; model “Smart II Classrooms” with the latest advances for teaching — which befits a building where the teachers of tomorrow are taught; pop-up electrical and hard-wire Internet connections in some desks; a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classroom outfitted with special microscopes and a cart full of iPads, courtesy of a $25,000 gift from Xcel Energy; four dedicated distance education classrooms which faculty can use to connect to students literally around the world; and more.

While the renovation and addition are funded by federal stimulus dollars allocated by the state of North Dakota, much of the furnishings, equipment and technology has been made possible through generous donations from alumni and friends of UND. “Donors have funded a special reading/literacy classroom for preparing elementary teachers and another donor has furnished a wonderful student lounge, something that has been missing in the old building”, said Jena Pierce, ’01, the college’s director of alumni relations and development. “We are offering students the professional environments they will enter into in their careers, through the generosity of our alumni.”

Dr. Barbara Combs, associate dean for teacher education, also puts technology in perspective as it relates to sustainability: “The more we are able to use the ‘cloud’ [virtual working space and storage capacity that can be accessed anywhere through a wireless or hard-wired Internet connection] and laptops, the more likely we are to use less paper.” Not to mention other kinds of technology improvements, such as energy-saving motion detectors and ENERGY STAR appliances, and water-saving restroom facilities and special water stations that allow folks to fill water bottles with the push of a button. As UND President Robert Kelley would say, the building and addition are “Powered by Green.”

Clearly that is true for the small greenhouse just off the STEM classroom. It will feature specially engineered fast-growing plants, which will allow faculty to include science curriculum-building exercises, and which education students can use in designing science projects for use for students in schools.

‘Sense of Place’ — A North Dakota Building

Rice may be most proud of what he calls the “sense of place” that the addition and remodeled building will evoke in students, faculty, staff and visitors. Rice wanted a building that would remind people of where they were — in the heart of the Red River Valley in the great state of North Dakota.

“One of the visions I’ve had with the buildings is that they will communicate a sense of place. The color theme, for example, has been selected to represent the state of North Dakota so that it feels like being in North Dakota,” Rice said. The colors represent wheat, red potatoes, sunflowers, North Dakota’s deep blue sky — and grasses. The remodeled building and addition aren’t “green just in terms of energy savings,” Rice jokes.

Rice points out that the North Dakota theme will resonate through the artwork — paintings, photos, sculptures — displayed in the building. Some will come from UND’s own extensive collection. He hopes to use the space to showcase regional artistic talent and to entice regional artists — American Indians, among others — to donate or lend their works for display.

Finally, Rice said being “green” is also about a healthy “mind-body” connection. The vending machines, for example, will offer healthy foods and drinks. Real plates, glasses and cups will save money and cut back on paper products.

And plenty of natural sunlight, thanks to some innovative design work, will flood the building and addition. One of two lecture classrooms, for example, can be lit exclusively through special skylights. Want to use the projector and screen? No problem. The skylights can easily be dampened. Likewise, office doors have a sidelight to allow for as much natural light as possible to filter through the building and addition. Not only will that save money on electricity, it will also be healthier for the students, faculty and staff, and will help those affected by SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Better control over their environment, from lighting to heating and cooling, will help make for happier and more productive workers, Pierce said.

Peter B. Johnson University Relations

"Extraordinary Places" is one tenet of North Dakota Spirit | The Campaign for UND, and UND's Education Building will truly be an extraordinary place on campus. The LEED certified building and addition will provide a "green," high-tech, engaging learning and teaching environment for students and faculty.

The $300 million North Dakota Spirit campaign seeks to direct $50 million to UND's extraordinary places, and the alumni and friends of the University are helping us to reach that goal by supporting the College of Education and Human Development Building Fund.

Julie Williams Barner, '70, '71, and Michael Barner have given more than $30,000 to name the lobby. Thanks to Xcel Energy¹s $25,000 gift, the STEM room will be outfitted with iPads and special microscopes to prepare students for teaching using today¹s technology. Allocations from an endowment and a direct gift, established by Val, '82, and Marten Hoekstra, '82, will name the Hoekstra Family Reading Room. A group of donors are coming together to name a conference room after emeriti professors Dr. Don Lemon and Dr. Don Piper, with a lead pledge by Dr. Sherryl, '88, '95 and Bernie Houdek, '88.

Dr. Kathleen Gershman, ..'81, has provided a gift for a student lounge. It will be a place where students can study and relax in a warm and comfortable environment. The family of Lowell, '62, '70, and Donna Thompson have named a faculty office in their honor. And because of our many other generous donors, the building will be furnished with the latest office equipment and technology.

Show your North Dakota Spirit by supporting the College of Education and Human Development Building Fund.

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