Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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New “green” Germanna building also a classroom

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The region’s newest “green” building is nearing completion at Germanna Community College’s Fredericksburg campus. While it has lots of environmentally friendly features–a vegetated roof, passive solar heating, automatic shades, skylights and large windows for natural lighting, water conservation and super-efficient heating and cooling–what sets it apart from others is that many of those green features will be used to engage students in the classroom.  The building itself is a laboratory for instruction: engineering students, for example, will be able to tap   mechanical and renewable energy features during their course work. A small wind turbine, next to a courtyard on one side of the building, was installed for that purpose. I took a tour of the building this morning for a story I’ll be doing soon. The Science & Engineering/Information Commons Building sits across from the Workforce Development and Technology Center. Designed by Clark Nexsen and built by Donley’s Construction, the three-story, $25 million structure encompasses about 50,000 square feet. It includes a 13,000-square-foot library learning center, reading spaces, a multimedia lab, project and study rooms, two environmental chambers for biology experiments, two chemistry labs and two general purpose classrooms. It’ will house a dean, 18 full-time and 12 part-time faculty, meeting rooms, a break room and space for information technology. It opens next month for summer classes.

A wind turbine sits next to a large rain garden at GCC's new Science & Engineering/Information Commons Building.