JIM AND MARTIE BULTMAN STUDENT CENTER EARNS LEED GOLD CERTIFICATION; WOOD FROM STORM-FELLED TREES LINKS PAST AND PRESENT
Organizations seeking LEED certification for their construction projects have many ways to earn it, including by using regional materials. In developing the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center, which recently received LEED Gold certification, Hope College integrated a meaningful resource from mere yards away: wood saved from venerable campus elms that were felled by a storm.
The trees were lost in a thunderstorm that caused damage throughout the Holland area in June 2011. Hope saved the trunks and turned them into boards to be used some day in a way that commemorated the trees’ long tenure at the college.
The student center, which is in the central campus, provided the opportunity, with construction beginning in 2015 for a fall 2017 opening. Boards from an elm estimated to have been 164 years old (older than Hope, chartered in 1866) panel the east wall of the building’s chapel. A wall in a large, multi-use room and the wall and bench work surrounding the main lounge’s fireplace also feature wood from campus.
“The trees were present for generations as students attended Hope,” said Dr. Richard Frost, who is vice president for student development and dean of students at the college. “The boards made from them provide a connection between the past, present and future. Just as importantly, the wood has become a significant element in the student center being designated as a LEED Gold building.”
The center is the second newly constructed building in a row at the college to earn LEED certification, with plans underway for a hat trick. The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts that opened in August 2015 holds LEED Silver certification, and Hope will also be seeking certification for the new Campus Ministries building that is under construction and scheduled to be completed next fall.
“Sustainability is an ongoing commitment for us, and constructing buildings with concern for the environment is an important part of that commitment,” said Kara Slater, who is director of operations at the college and is a LEED accredited professional (LEED AP). “In the same way, the college is dedicated to exercising good stewardship in its day-to-day operations, whether it’s the water-efficient irrigation that we use across campus, installing LED lighting or through the cleaning materials that we use.”
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