UND Education Building takes gold with ‘Silver’ LEED designation


David L. Dodds

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

College of Education & Human Development


Newly renovated structure first in higher education system certified for meeting elite environmental standards

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded the addition and remodel to the historic Education Building on the University of North Dakota (UND) campus with LEED Silver certification.

This is UND's first LEED-certified project, the first LEED-certified building in the City of Grand Forks Proper, and North Dakota's first LEED Silver higher education facility. It is also the second LEED-certified project in the State that is also on the National Registry of Historic Places.

Designed by JLG Architects, the major addition and renovation to the Education Building updated all education, student and faculty spaces and linked it to nearby Gillette Hall. Key sustainable strategies included high performance glazing, super-insulated walls and roofs, and a high-efficiency chiller. Said UND President Robert Kelley, "This is an outstanding building in the architectural world. The architects and engineers worked together to turn the challenge into a vision for the future. It's new, valuable, fresh and exhilarating."

LEED, or Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design, is the USGBC's guideline for designing and constructing the world's greenest, most energy efficient, and high performing buildings. New construction or renovation projects must go through a rigorous application process in order to be considered for LEED certification. The application involves a rating system that awards points for satisfying specific sustainable criteria in a number of different environmental categories, including Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Air Quality.

"The LEED Silver certification for the University of North Dakota's Education Building demonstrates leadership in green building and climate protection," said Debra Pflughoeft-Hassett, USGBC North Dakota Chapter Vice Chair. "The project makes efficient use of natural resources, makes an immediate positive impact on our planet, and will continue to provide benefits for future generations."

Renovations and new additions include 14 classrooms, two lecture halls, four seminar rooms, five conference rooms, and faculty offices. The finished project modernizes learning environments for on-campus students and provides hybrid learning spaces to accommodate the needs of distance learners. The design encourages interactive research across the disciplines in the College of Education and Human Development.

The first major renovation to the Education Building since 1953 began in spring 2009, thanks to an appropriation of $11.2 million from the North Dakota Legislature, which, with the support and encouragement of then Gov. John Hoeven, used American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds provided by Congress. The North Dakota Legislature stipulated that the funds be used to remodel the Education Building and to build an addition to connect the Education Building to Gillette Hall.

The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education also authorized an additional $1.4 million for small equipment items, which must come from external fundraising or internal allocations.


With offices in Grand Forks, Fargo, Minot, Bismarck, Alexandria and Minneapolis, JLG has been fortunate to shape the architecture throughout the Midwest. Since the firm's inception in 1989, JLG has won more North Dakota AIA Design Awards than all other firms in North Dakota, and was recently named to the ZweigWhite Top 100 National Hot Firms list.

JLG's higher education division, JLGedu, has designed more than 500 higher education and K-12 academic new construction and renovation projects in twelve states, and has worked on all of university and college campuses in North Dakota. For more information on JLG Architects, visit www.jlgarchitects.com.