Mesa Community College recently completed work on a stunning physical science building that exceeded LEED expectations when it was awarded LEED-NC Gold. Designed by the award-winning architecture firm, The Smith Group, the building is the first major LEED project to be completed within the Maricopa Country Community College District. The brand new 64,480-square-foot facility houses curriculum for the physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology and engineering departments including classrooms, laboratories, facility offices, an advising center and a 53 seat planetarium. Topping off the new space is an astronomy observation platform.
Thanks to a strategic partnership formed with the local utilities company, the new science facility features a plaza covered with a large array of solar panels that produces much of the building’s power while serving as a shade for pedestrians below. The project’s other sustainable features include a 43% cost savings in energy, a more than 50% reduction in water use, and the use of recycled content for 30% of the project’s building materials. Additionally, more than 75% of the wood used throughout was certified by the FSC.
Higher education is definitely making strides to ensure that their learning environments are as sustainable as the curriculum they teach their students. Mesa Community College is one of many Universities setting an example that we hope all will soon follow.