SILER CITY — Central Carolina Community College’s Siler City Center is built of brick, aluminum and glass, but it is now officially “Gold.”
The U.S. Green Building Council has announced that the facility, completed in fall 2010, has met all the design, siting, and material requirements to be certified at the Gold Level of the USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.
The USGBC is a nonprofit organization that promotes environmental and consumer-friendly building design and construction. LEED is the USGBC’s standard for sustainable design and construction of residential, educational and commercial buildings. Buildings can be certified at the Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum levels, with each succeeding level having more stringent criteria.
LEED-certified buildings are designed to lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“We started with an initial goal of Silver, so this is certainly great news,” said Taylor Hobbs, of Hobbs Architects, PA, Pittsboro, designer of the 23,800-square-foot building. Monteith Construction, of Wilmington was the general contractor.
Some of the features that helped the building earn the Gold certification are: solar oriented site design and use of natural day lighting for interior spaces, water-efficient landscaping and low-flow water systems, minimal site and habitat disturbance, storm water management, use of local and regional as well as recycled materials, reflective roof surfaces, and use of low volatile organic compound (VOC) materials.
Central Carolina Community College, which primarily serves residents of Chatham, Harnett and Lee counties, is known as “Green Central” for its leadership in sustainable education, such as biofuels, sustainable agriculture, natural chef culinary arts, ecotourism, green building/weatherization, and sustainable technologies.
Having its newest buildings meet high LEED standards is one more way the college is showing its commitment to and demonstrating leadership in sustainability, according to CCCC President Bud Marchant. The college and Chatham County also opened two new buildings on the college’s Pittsboro campus in fall 2010: the Chatham Community Library and the Sustainable Technology Center. Both were designed by Cherry Huffman Architects (now Ratio Architects, of Raleigh) to meet at least a LEED Silver standard. Both are awaiting a determination of their final certification level by the USGBC.
“We are delighted the Siler City Center has achieved the Gold certification,” Marchant said. “We appreciate the Chatham County Board of Commissioners for their vision in funding the construction of green buildings that will serve the workforce training and much of the post-secondary educational needs of the county’s residents. The buildings will also benefit the quality of life for those who use them as well as the residents and the environment of the county as a whole.”
The Siler City Center is the college’s first facility built in the western part of Chatham County to serve the educational needs of residents there. Prior to its construction, classes were held in the former Henry B. Siler School. When that facility needed major renovations for continued use, the county board of commissioners approved the construction of a new Center.
The two-story Siler City Center is located on a 41-acre wooded site in the Central Carolina Business Campus. It and the college’s West Harnett Center are two of only a handful of North Carolina community college centers in an industrial park.
The new facility enables the college to do a major expansion of its workforce training, basic skills, adult education, curriculum programs, and enrichment classes in western Chatham. University transfer and other programs will be added in the future.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are excited about the new Center and its sustainable features.
“We were thrilled to receive word that the Siler City Center has received LEED Gold Certification,” said Karen Allen, CCCC Chatham provost. “This is a beautiful campus building which showcases new features in energy efficiency and sustainability. These features will reduce operating costs significantly over the long term, create a more pleasing physical environment for our students and staff, and model the value of sustainability technologies for the public.”