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Welcome Center Update

August 11, 2009

welcome_center_constructionThe highly anticipated LEED-certified Gartner Welcome Center is scheduled to be completed by October of 2009. The dedication of both the Welcome Center and the wellness and recreation center will be on Friday, October 2 as a part of the Homecoming weekend festivities.

Since October of 2008, Hammond Construction has been working closely with the Mount Union Physical Plant to make sure the construction of the Welcome Center remains on schedule. Currently, the groundwork of the geothermal system has been installed – nearly 16 wells have been drilled. The geothermal system will pull heating and cooling out of the earth instead of consuming utilities. The framework for the 9,100-square-foot, two-level structure has been completed.

The Welcome Center has been named in honor of lead supporters Carl ’60 and Martha Gartner of Minerva, OH. Carl has served on the Board of Trustees for 28 years and he and his wife have always enjoyed, supported and been involved with Mount Union.

“The idea that this facility would be the first ‘green’ building on campus and one of only a few at colleges and universities in Ohio was really appealing to Martha and me,” said Carl. “I’m proud that we were able to do this. We appreciate what Mount Union has done for our family and we were glad to give back.”

The new facility will provide a stand-alone, homey environment that will be sure to make prospective students and their entire families feel at ease as they explore campus for the first time. The Welcome Center, located on the east side of campus across from Bracy Hall, will be home to the Office of Admission as well as the Office of Student Financial Services.

Also making significant contributions to the Welcome Center are Dr. James ’49 and Maggie (Kinsey ’51) Rodman and the late Dr. W. Brooks ’34 and Wanda Fortune.

Four interview rooms are being incorporated that directly overlook the lakes. In addition, the lobby of the facility will provide comfortable and inviting seating in the waiting area as families gather for campus tours and counseling. The Office of Admission area will be named “Rodman Family Admission Center” and the Office of Student Financial Services will be named “The Fortune Student Financial Services Center” after the substantial contributors to this significant project.

The Welcome Center also will display Mount Union’s commitment to green initiatives through its LEED certification. LEED stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), this system provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass over 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries covering more than one billion square feet of development area.  

Individuals recognized for their knowledge of the LEED rating system are permitted to use the LEED Accredited Professional (AP) acronym after their name, indicating they have passed the accreditation exam given by the USGBC. According to Dr. Jeffrey Draves, professor of chemistry and chair of the Department of Chemistry, LEED is a system utilized to certify a building as environmentally friendly.

The Welcome Center will serve as Alliance’s first LEED building. The LEED certification system is organized into six environmental categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design. In each category the building will be awarded points.

Based on these points, a building can be awarded one of the following ratings - certified, silver, gold and platinum. Blaine Lewis, director of physical plant, anticipates that the Welcome Center will be awarded a gold level when the final inspection takes place after dedication.

Ways of earning LEEDs points include installing high-efficiency heat pumps, designing a building to maximize exposure to sunlight, utilizing low-flow water fixtures, buying supplies locally within a certain radius and recycling or reusing construction waste.

“It is very important to us that, as a leader in the college and university sustainability movement, we incorporate green practices at every turn,” said Dr. Richard Giese, president of the College. “During the last two years, our construction and renovation projects have displayed our responsibility to the environment. Our new LEED certified Welcome Center is the next step in the process.”

 

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