Date:  January 31, 2011

University Celebrates Building’s LEED® Gold Status

Fort Wayne, Ind.—Indiana Tech celebrated the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification of The Wilfred Uytengsu, Sr. Center with the unveiling of a commemorative plaque on Monday.

The university recently received the 18-inch diameter, 24-pound solid bronze plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council. It will be mounted on an interior wall near the building’s entrance.

“This is a symbol of what we have achieved here,” said Dr. Arthur E. Snyder, Indiana Tech president, speaking to a crowd of students, faculty and staff. “This plaque and the energy efficiency that it stands for confirm that this is a very special building from our past and for many decades into our future.”

The Uytengsu Center was built in 1857 and is the oldest building on the Indiana Tech campus. Rather than demolish the deteriorating landmark, the university embarked on a $3.1 million renovation to preserve and modernize the historic building. In approving the project, the Board of Trustees wanted the cost of energy efficient upgrades to have a 10-year payback. Initial data indicate that the payback may actually be in the seven-year range.

“With six months of data in hand, I’m very pleased to note that our energy costs for this building are about 41 cents per square foot per year—a typical building like this would be $1.25 to $1.50 per square foot per year,” Snyder explained.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry was on hand to help the university celebrate.

“Talk about keeping history alive,” Henry exclaimed. “This absolutely beautiful building makes quite a statement for our city.”

Henry lauded the university’s focus on key fields of science and technology as well as extensive improvements to the campus just east of downtown.

The Uytengsu Center renovation, led by Viridian Architectural Design, utilized an integrated design approach, “green” materials, sustainable construction methods, and advanced technologies with an initial goal of achieving LEED® Silver Certification. As the design and construction project progressed, however, the renovation team realized that Gold Certification might be attainable.

“To be part of this team and this project is just phenomenal,” said Terry Thornsbury, architect. “This is one of the most advanced, most high performing buildings in the state.”

Thornsbury highlighted some of the ways the project earned points toward Gold Certification, including reducing water usage; minimizing the heat island effect of the roof; using high-efficiency LED lighting and daylight harvesting; using a closed-loop geothermal heating system; and diverting nearly 550 tons of waste from landfills by reusing and recycling hardwood and brick from the original system.

An innovative geothermal system from WaterFurnace International, which was partially funded by a Department of Energy grant, is a key feature of the building and future campus plans.

“I commend Indiana Tech for its vision and leadership, good stewardship, and fiscal responsibility,” Tim Shields, chairman of the board at WaterFurnace, said during the celebration.

Initial meetings to discuss potential ideas for saving the building began in January 2009.  Construction began in September 2009 and was completed in August 2010. The design and construction team for the renovation project included:

  • Civil and Structural Engineering: Engineering Resources, Inc.
  • Architect/LEED® Accredited Professional: Viridian Architectural Design, Inc.
  • Interior Design: Contract Design Consulting
  • Mechanical and Electrical Engineering: Primary Engineering, Inc.
  • Commissioning Agent: TechComm, Inc.
  • Construction Manager: Michael Kinder and Sons, Inc.

“We did something that most people wouldn’t even think of doing,” Thornsbury said. “We didn’t  knock down an old building that was well beyond its prime. … We did save this building. We did preserve the historic integrity of this building. And we did what anyone else could do if they decide that this is the right thing to do as well: show true sustainable stewardship by rebuilding a building that helps to preserve our future on this planet.”


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