WCC building achieves green status

By Robert Leitner

Rider University continues its commitment to going green by constructing buildings in an eco-friendly manner with Westminster’s Marion Buckelew Cullen Center achieving a LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 11,200 square foot building was completed in the fall of 2014 and achieved LEED Silver in March, 2016, according to the Associate Vice President of Facilities and Auxiliary Services Michael Reca. After tracking points on a scorecard during construction, a formal application was filed with the U.S. Green Building Council in order to be considered for the certification.

“There are many factors that go into the design and building of a green building that is found on the LEED for New Construction rating scorecard,” said Reca. “These items include (but are not limited to) how construction waste was handled and recycled, energy efficient HVAC and lighting systems, low flow water fixtures, low-emitting paints and having a LEED accredited professional involved from start to finish on the project.”

The Cullen Center was designed by Kehrt, Shatken and Sharon (KSS) Architects in Princeton with the help of some Rider students who did a portion of the early programming for the building.  Its design was inspired by the Georgian architecture found in several buildings on the Westminster Campus.

“The Cullen Center has two general use classrooms that are sound attenuate, so piano playing, singing or other activities can be done without disrupting other areas of the building, a seminar room and the rehearsal hall that can hold the entire symphonic choir,” said Reca.  “The rehearsal hall is also used for events and recitals.”

The 3,000 square foot rehearsal hall can hold 235 musicians, and is named after the Henry L. Hillman Foundation, which provided a $3 million grant to aid the project.

“The university made a commitment in 2007 that any new stand-alone structures would be built to the LEED Silver standard or higher,” said Reca.  “Currently, West Village is LEED Silver and North Hall is LEED Gold Certified.”

The Cullen Center is the newest addition to the Westminster Campus, although there has been some internal renovations to the playhouse adjacent to the Cullen Center, and a 1,500 square foot storage building was constructed.

“We are very pleased with the project and the space has been a great addition to the Westminster Campus,” said Reca.  “As we progress in our renovation programs, we will evaluate each project to identify what it would take to make our current buildings LEED existing buildings. If it is feasible and within the budget, we will look to get this certification.”

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