The newly built welcome center at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla., has been recognized by the Florida Planning and Zoning Association as the state's 2017 Outstanding Sustainability Project.
The university says the Marshall & Vera Lea Rinker Welcome Center was singled out for features that conserve energy and water, use land efficiently, and help recharge ground water supplies.
The three-story, 24,000-square-foot center opened in September 2016. It houses Admissions and Enrollment Management, meeting rooms, and Career and Professional Development for students and alumni.
“The thing that distinguished (the Rinker Welcome Center) the best was how they actually designed the building itself to fit into the environment to conserve and reduce energy,” says Helen LaValley, incoming president of the Florida Planning and Zoning Association. “The building incorporated the most design features out of all the projects.”
Stetson University sought to construct a welcome center that would be “an iconic, sustainable building." University officials met more than five years ago with John Rinker, president of the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation, who provided the lead gift to pay for construction of the facility.
“We made a commitment...that we would build an iconic, sustainable building that would last 100 years,” says Al Allen, Stetson's associate vice president for facilities management.
Among the sustainable features in the center: glass walls that reduce the need for artificial lighting; a 50-year metal roof that reflects heat and helps keep the building cool; LED lighting that requires 75 percent less energy than traditional lighting; solar-powered lights to illuminate the parking area; and a system that collects rain water and redirects it so it can percolate into and help replenish the Florida Aquifer. The building also uses reclaimed water for irrigation and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
The building also received Green Globes certification before it opened last fall.