Ferris State University has learned that the University Center renovation project earned LEED Gold certification as established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Ferris’ Associate Vice President for Physical Plant Michael Hughes said that this is the fourth Ferris facility to receive the Gold designation.
“We’re extremely proud of that accomplishment,” Hughes said. “It’s a collaborative effort between our design partners, our construction management firm and our Physical Plant staff.”
Ferris’ other LEED Gold certified projects include the construction of the East Campus Suites, in Big Rapids; the renovation of the Woodbridge N. Ferris Building, in Grand Rapids (formerly known as the Historical Federal Building); and the construction of the Michigan College of Optometry building, in Big Rapids.
Hughes said that the university’s Board of Trustees adopted a Big Rapids campus master plan earlier this year to continue the university’s commitment to seek LEED Silver certification as a minimum standard in construction and renovation efforts. The University Center project scored well into the LEED Gold range, which the USGBC reports is between 60-79 points.
“It is part of our mission statement, our vision, values and goals to seek sustainability,” Hughes said. “It just demonstrates that, through an internationally-recognized system, we’re achieving those goals we’ve been asked to pursue.”
While sustainability remains a goal for the university, Hughes said that Ferris’ core value of Ethical Community guides its efforts. LEED certification points can be gained by purchasing “green” energy, but Hughes said that Ferris would not present an undue cost to students when making choices regarding facilities and operations.
The master plan proposes further construction on the Big Rapids campus, as existing student housing needs substantial renovation or replacement to meet current student needs. Hughes said that regardless of the project, those involved will seek to continue their success in achieving these environmental standards.
“When you win the championship every year, it’s hard to sustain,” Hughes said. “We’re excited about the challenge and we look forward to continuing this run of overachieving, getting LEED Gold certified buildings.”
The USGBC has more information on LEED standards.
PHOTO CAPTION: The University Center on Ferris’ Big Rapids campus opened in January of 2015.