Stroh Center to pay dividends in green energy, revenue

The University’s planned Stroh Center represents the beginning of a new era for BGSU and the first in a series of new investments in campus buildings and infrastructure. It will be a showcase for the University and a boon to recruitment, said President Carol Cartwright.

The center will be the first BGSU building to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

“This is the statement the University is now making about sustainability,” said Steven Krakoff, associate vice president for capital planning and design.

While many green features had initially been planned for the building, the design team was excited when it became apparent that, with a bit more effort, the University could achieve the certification, he said. The building “was performing extraordinarily well from a budget standpoint, and we saw we could do this. We realized it was not going to be a 50-yard pass but a five-yard run,” he explained.

The architectural firm designing the center, Rosetti Associates of Southfield, Mich., is experienced in LEED, Krakoff said. The architects are “LEED-accredited professionals,” explained project manager Michael Schuessler, design and construction. “This is becoming more common but only a minority of architects have this designation so far,” he said.

Schuessler enumerated some of the factors involved in achieving the certification. They include: optimizing the performance of the heating and air conditioning system, construction-waste management, buying materials regionally, using products with at least 10 percent recycled content, providing water-efficient restroom accessories, using low-emission paints and finishes, and making the building accessible to alternative transportation such as bicycles.

“It’s a very important step in the right direction and may become the standard for what’s to come for all University buildings,” Schuessler said.

The Stroh Center will provide a good return for BGSU in other ways as well. In addition to its use for athletics and graduations, concerts and preview days, it will be rented to outside groups about 150 times a year, thus generating revenue for the University. About 500,000 people a year will use the facility, it is estimated.

Current freshmen will be the first cohort to help support construction of the center, which is expected to open in late 2011. Student fees do not go into effect until the facility is complete, as was the case with the Bowen-Thompson Student Union, among other nonacademic buildings.

March 23, 2009