UA recreation center gets 'platinum' stamp
The University of Arizona Student Recreation Center's recent expansion has received platinum certification, the highest ranking in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program that rates buildings' sustainability.
The Tucson facility joins two other LEED platinum-certified university buildings in Arizona, the Arizona Biodesign Institute's Building B at Arizona State University in Tempe and the Applied Research and Development Facility at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
"We accomplished the platinum level without additional budget and because of the high level of sustainability in our typical design, construction and operating practices," said Melissa Dryden, a senior program coordinator with UA Facilities Design and Construction.
The LEED program, which is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, has a basic certification level followed by silver, gold and platinum.
The first and only other platinum-certified building in southern Arizona is the Lee H. Brown Family Conservation Learning Center at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson.
Along with meeting the existing UA green goals, "we wanted to specifically work toward reusing the parking lot paving materials that existed onsite," Dryden said. Some of the other goals were to mitigate stormwater runoff, minimize water use, maximize natural light and ensure enduring quality while minimizing energy use.
The LEED system awards points based on six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.
Dryden said 28.75 percent of the rec center's building materials had been recycled. Aluminum, steel, floor finishes and trim, roof and wall insulation, and millwork materials contained documented recycled content, she added.
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences assisted with the landscaping and water-harvesting aspects of the design, Dryden said. Parking and Transportation Services helped with dedicating low-emission parking next to the facility.
Facilities Management helped choose plants and the most efficient maintenance and irrigation system. It also helped choose the most efficient mechanical systems.
Myles Palmer, a desk assistant at the rec center, said the new building is much better lit than the old. The interior "was really florescent, but now all the windows bring in natural light that's easy on the eyes," he said. "And the old weight room didn't have the open, natural feel that the new one does."
The $27.6 million project was built by Sundt Construction of Tempe. It was designed by Sasaki Associates of Watertown, Mass., and M3 Engineering & Technology Corp. of Chandler.