Reprinted here in its entirety.
By Dr. William A. Meehan
President, Jacksonville State University
Weekly Column - Town and Gown
Maybe it was the unprecedented string of triple-digit August temperatures and
the reoccurring pattern of extreme drought.
Maybe too, it was the corresponding utility bills associated with the cooling
of JSUís buildings and the prohibition on watering our campus landscaping.
Many factors contributed, but for sure it was reaffirming of our decision on
how we would construct JSUís newest building.
On June 11, JSU started construction on the Little River Canyon Center near
Fort Payne, and it will be one of the stateís first LEED certified construction
projects. That means that at the time it opens, it will have been reviewed and
certified by a panel of experts for its Leadership in Energy and Environmental
The building process will reduce levels of waste. The building materials will
have been selected to minimize the impact on our natural resources. Many of the
materials will include recycled content and all will come from places nearby, so
as to reduce the need for their long-distance transportation. The plumbing will
include water saving devices like faucets with automatic cut-offs and cisterns
that collect roof-top rainfall for landscape care. The heating and cooling
system will utilize geothermal technology by pumping air through pipes traveling
deep into the ground where temperatures reduce the need for energy.
The Center will include many other sustainable features, but most
importantly, it will serve as a model: it will teach others how we can use
technology to conserve resources and reduce emissions which ultimately
contribute to climate change. The University will be partnering with the
National Park Service, who will have offices in one wing of this unique
25,000-square-foot ďgreenĒ building. Additionally, this cutting edge,
environmentally friendly construction technology will be incorporated into
high-tech meeting spaces, a state-of-the-art museum and classrooms that will be
used by JSU faculty for teaching and research.
JSUís Field School will also utilize the Center. Renee Morrison, JSUís Field
School Coordinator says she ďis very excited they will be able to conduct
classes dealing with nature and the environment in a LEED certified building.
The building itself, and how it was constructed, will serve as a wonderful
teaching aid. Many of our classes will emphasize the importance of protecting
our environment and we will use this building to create awareness to alternative
Earlier this summer I issued a statement suggesting all universities explore
LEED certification. The hot and dry summer has been harsh, but certainly it has
been reaffirming. The time for greener buildings is now and Iím proud
Jacksonville State University is taking the lead.
For more information about the Little River Canyon Center, please contact
JSUís Environmental Policy and Information Center by calling 256-782-8010.
Pete Conroy, Director of JSUís Environmental Policy and Information Center
and Field Schools, contributed to this article.
About William A. Meehan
Dr. William A. Meehan is president of Jacksonville
State University. His column, "Town & Gown," appears in The Jacksonville News.
See story at The Jacksonville News's website: www.jaxnews.com