Planting seeds for a green dorm

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By Julia Ernst

The leaves and grass won’t be the only things turning green on campus this spring.

As part of the Climate Pledge that President Mordechai Rozanski signed, construction will begin in the spring on a “green” residence hall, which will be located in the woods behind Maurer Gym and the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority house.

“We pledged to do things with an eye toward sustainability,” explained Dean of Students Anthony Campbell. “The dorm construction is in keeping with the Climate Pledge.”

Not only will the new residence hall boost efforts to help the environment, it will widen the smiles of its residing students. Most of the rooms are slated be the “most luxurious” suites and apartments Rider has ever built, according to early blueprints.

“It will definitely be an upper-class building,” said Campbell.

Construction cannot begin until unapproved preliminary floor plans get OK’d by the Lawrence Township. On Dec. 3 the blueprints will receive a chance to get approved by the town’s planning board.

Michael Reca, assistant vice president of Auxiliary Services, is working closely with the Spiezle Group, an architectural firm located in Trenton.

The University has borrowed $22 million that will fund the construction of the “green” dorm and other facility projects. The residence hall is scheduled for a May 2009 completion.

Jason Kliwinski is directing the project’s sustainable design. In the past five years he has helped eight buildings meet the requirements of the LEED standard, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a national certification for “green” buildings.

“The designing for LEED silver is one of the strategies in the President’s Climate Commitment,” said Reca. There are certain items to avoid in the construction of a “green” building.

“The three chemicals you want to eliminate from a building are: chlorine, formaldehyde and volatile organic compounds,” Kliwinski said.

To reach this goal, the new “green” dorm will include low flow fixtures such as waterless urinals and other sustainable items.

“We’re also looking at solar panels to be included in the plans,” said Kliwinski.

It will be built with lumber from trees cut down for construction and local materials, from less than 500 miles away.

“We’re going to preserve as many trees as possible,” Reca said.

The Office of Residence Life is working with student groups to determine who will be eligible to live in the advanced building. It’s a possibility that it may be limited to students who contribute positively on campus. The decision or specific requirements are still being worked on, Campbell said.

For the moment, however, it is the environmental focus that has students singing praises of the planned residence hall.

“I think it’s a great thing,” said senior Matthew Nissen. “I think it’s a positive step in the right direction. It can be used as a model for other colleges and universities on the importance of environmental concerns.”

Sophomore Nikolas Paleologus also thought it was a good idea.

“I think it’s definitely important to use resources locally to build something on campus,” said Paleologus.

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