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Home > Campus Initiatives > Building and Development
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As a full-service, 24-hour operation, we have more in common with a small municipality than a single business. We have our citizenry—nearly 33,500 students and more than 5,600 employees—as well as our own housing, businesses, transportation fleet, and police force. The campus spans 420 acres and features 112 buildings, providing centers for learning and administration; research, laboratory, and medical facilities; on-campus housing; places for dining, exercising, shopping, and socializing; sports and cultural venues; and more. It also includes a thermal plant that provides heating and cooling services.
Because the University’s main campus is in the heart of downtown Arlington, our growth is felt throughout the region. Since 2007 the University has added 1.46 million square feet of building space to the campus, with more growth planned in the coming years. Our aim is to manage this growth responsibly, and the Campus Master Plan provides a blueprint for responsible development through mindful planning and design that focuses on sustainable buildings, resource stewardship, and climate responsive outdoor spaces accentuated by native plants. The University has committed to pursuing LEED certification on future buildings, where practical LEED Silver certification for all projects will be the minimum goal.
Green Building Policy
The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED Gold certification to the new College Park Center at The University of Texas at Arlington, further affirming the University’s role as a leader in implementing sustainable, cost-effective design. UT Arlington’s new, 234,000-square-foot Engineering Research Building was certified as a LEED Gold project. Earlier this year, The Green at College Park, a 2.6-acre park on the south side of College Park Center, was one of the first three projects to be certified through the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a certification similar to LEED but focused on landscape design.
The University’s first major plan is based upon best practices for sustainable initiatives. Example of this includes the LEED certification program “gray to green” concept of reducing surface parking lots and replacing them with more sustainable features including the landscape, green spaces and tree canopies. Another example would be the new Center St. Green project bordering the east edge of the campus at Center and Mitchell Streets due to begin construction the second half of 2010.
The University through the Facilities Management Office continually explores product selections that are sustainable for both building construction and consumable products. This has been true for many years and examples include energy efficient roofs sometimes called “cool roofs,” insulated glass with solar film, certified wood products such as those used in lab cabinetry, and the use of “green label plus” certified flooring materials. We have also incorporated use of sustainable building elements as in construction using “green cement” in concrete structures and longer life products including upgraded HVAC system components.
Storm water management improvements in this area have included the incorporation of a 28,000 gallon rainwater collection system for the Engineering Research building and the development of Center Street Green project. The rainwater collection system will retain approximately a one inch rainfall on site as well as the ability to capture condensate water from the air conditioning system’s summer operation. This water will be used on site for irrigation purposes. Center St. Park project incorporates several sustainable features that are covered more thoroughly under another work group highlighting a rill garden which filters storm water prior to it leaving the site. The park also replaces four large apartment buildings that were acquired by the university in 2009 and demolished, resulting in increased green space on campus concurrent with the Campus’s Master Plan.
Demolition debris from structures removed is consistently recycled as a sustainability initiative. Recent examples include the removal of Coronado and the Alpha/Delta apartment complexes. This practice is currently routine for all demolition work.
Green roof initiatives are incorporated into new construction where practical, the Engineering Research Building currently incorporates green roof technology.
Innovation design construction will increase where buildings are intended to be functional beyond normal life expectancy. Construction materials such as concrete and steel structural elements are inherent in the design, an example of this includes the Engineering Research Building as well as the proposed Special Events Center and Parking Garage/Residence Hall planned.
Development of College Town, as part of developing a more sustainable campus, which will offer students an environment whereby they will be able to remain on campus, without leaving for a wide variety of additional services and amenities. Services congruent with the needs of the students as well as the immediate community are being considered within this project, a parking garage to be included will mitigate the need for additional surface parking thus preserving a more green campus. This parking structure will also feature a solar photo voltaic electrical generating source which will reduce the total energy off site requirements. This system is further discussed under the energy and water workgroup.
Within the Campus Master Plan is the concept of creating additional pedestrian malls in areas which are currently vehicular streets. A recent example includes the closure of West First St. between Yates and College streets. This area has been transformed into an attractive outdoor space featuring enhanced landscaping, with brick pavers and benches, etc. Yates St. east of Nedderman Hall is currently being converted to a pedestrian mall as well and will be completed by Dec. 2010.
Additional “gray to green” initiatives include the removal of a surface parking lot which formerly existed north of the Engineering Lab building. It will reopen as an attractive mall with seating areas, water feature, and others concurrent with the opening of the ERB.
In 2009 Greek Row Drive was completely refurbished including the installation of underground utilities, the final product promotes landscaped islands which divide the student traffic flow thus creating a calmer and scenic traffic pattern. This renovation also increased pedestrian safety by providing islands for pedestrian crossings.
Regarding real estate transactions for the university, when new properties are acquired an environmental assessment is conducted by the University’s Historic Review to reveal any potential for environmental concerns with its prior usage. An asbestos survey and review of other construction factors that would impact the sustainable nature of the property is also conducted. In those cases where the property structures are demolished, any necessary abatement of hazardous materials as well as the recycling of those products is also determined. The final product is a site restored to an appealing and aesthetically improved landscaped area.