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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 44,000 students and nearly 8,000 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 2.24 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 sustainable construction practices.
Green Building Policy
The U.S. Green Building Council 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 234,000 square-foot Engineering Research Building was certified as a LEED Gold project.
The Science & Engineering Innovation & Research (SEIR) Building, which opened in 2018, was designed and built using sustainable practices including highly energy-efficient heating and cooling systems, water conservation practices, and sustainable materials for flooring and interior finishes.
The University’s master 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 landscaping, green spaces and tree canopies. Another example of this is The Green at College Park, a 2.6-acre park on the south side of College Park Center at Center and Mitchell Streets. This was one of the first projects to be certified through the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a certification similar to LEEDS but focused on landscape design.
Through the Facilities Management Office, the University 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 the 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 The Green at College Park. The rainwater collection system will retain approximately one inch of 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. The Green at College Park 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 Green also replaced four large apartment buildings that were acquired by the University and demolished, resulting in increased green space on campus concurrent with the Campus’s Master Plan.
Demolition debris from structures removed is recycled as a sustainability initiative whenever practical. Recent examples include the removal of Cooper Chase, Garden Club, and Maple Square 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, College Park Center, College Park District (parking garage/residence hall), West Campus Parking Garage, West Campus Residence Hall, the Commons (student center), and SEIR Building.
Development of College Town provides a more sustainable campus, which offers 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 and a parking garage mitigated the need for additional surface parking thus preserving a more green campus. This parking structure featured a solar photo voltaic electrical generating source which reduced the total off-site energy 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. An example includes the closure of West First Street between Yates and College Streets. This area was transformed into an attractive outdoor space featuring enhanced landscaping, with brick pavers and benches, etc. Yates Street east of Nedderman Hall was converted to a pedestrian mall as well.
Additional “gray to green” initiatives include the removal of a surface parking lot which formerly existed north of the Engineering Lab Building. It reopened 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 reconstructed 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.