Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo was hoping to renovate its out-of-date Sangren Hall, but instead built a larger, more efficient and greener version. The School of Education's headquarters is now the heart of the campus and has 50 classrooms; every student who graduates with a four-year degree will take at least one class in the building. Designed by SHW Group to achieve LEED Gold certification, Sangren Hall is a powerhouse for education with a green roof, lots of energy efficiency strategies and will soon have a photovoltaic system to provide for some of its demand.
WMU chose to construct a new building rather than renovate in order to create the new space needed for more classrooms. In addition, they also determined that a new building would be far more energy efficient than the old on. In fact, the new Sangren Hall saves $345,000 annually on energy costs compared to the old one. The 230,000-square-foot, four-story facility features 50 classrooms with 2,435 instructional seats, two 200-seat auditoriums, an education library, a grants and research center, offices and clinical space. Located at the heart of campus, almost every student passes through its doors at some point during the year and welcoming cafe and event space makes it a great place to meet up for study or socializing.
All of the classrooms, study areas and even hallways and meeting spaces are designed with new technology and flexibility in mind so the building can adapt to new advances and ways of learning. To meet the LEED Gold standards, the project includes daylighting, lighting sensors, tight thermal envelope, solar shading, energy recovery system, demand control ventilation, sustainable materials, low VOC finishes and much more. The roof is planted with vegetation to soak up rainwater and increase insulation. Surrounding the building is a large central pedestrian mall with water features and landscaping that was built to replace an old parking lot. Sangren Hall literally sits in the center of the campus and also serves as the heart which all students and faculty can enjoy.
Images ©Justin Maconochie