The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED Gold certification to the new College Park Center at The University of Texas at Arlington, further affirming the University’s role as a leader in implementing sustainable, cost-effective design.
The $78 million, 7,000-seat special events center opened in February. Already, it has hosted numerous basketball and volleyball games as well as a Drake concert and a Maverick Speaker Series appearance by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. University commencement ceremonies and those of many area high schools will be staged at the center through early June.
HKS Inc. designed College Park Center, incorporating recycled construction materials, natural light and many energy-saving features. The company’s application for LEED certification received a perfect score – earning all 42 points for which the firm applied.
“This is wonderful news and recognition that large, public spaces can be articulated in a way that embraces their environment,” said James D. Spaniolo, UT Arlington president. “We are pleased to be able to say that our University is helping set the standard for sustainable design.”
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification is an independent, third-party verification that a structure was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of environmental health, sustainability, water and energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Last year, UT Arlington’s new, 234,000-square-foot Engineering Research Building was certified as a LEED Gold project. Earlier this year, The Green at College Park, a 2.6-acre park on the south side of College Park Center, was one of the first three projects to be certified through the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a certification similar to LEED but focused on landscape design.
College Park Center has been cited for the way that the building interacts with The Green at College Park. Specialized soil, plants and design concepts in the park will allow for a more than 25-percent decrease in the amount of storm water runoff that would have been expected from the 218,000-square-foot events center.
Ralph Hawkins, HKS chairman and chief executive officer, called College Park Center a “world-class athletics and special events venue.”
“The center emphasizes energy efficiency, natural light and thoughtful landscaping in a new venue that defines the University's eastern edge,” said Hawkins, who also serves as chairman of the UT Arlington Development Board. “The project is proof-positive that architecture and sustainability can co-exist in a premiere venue.”
Other notable sustainable features of College Park Center are:
- The building makes maximum use of natural lighting in its sweeping, grand entrance atrium, throughout its concourses and in one, full-size practice court.
- 42 percent of the building material came from within 500 miles of campus and nearly 30 percent were manufactured using recycled materials.
- More than 85 percent of construction waste has been recycled.
- A 15-percent decrease in energy usage from traditional building methods is achieved through building design, high-efficiency window glazing, reduced interior lighting power density and high-efficiency HVAC systems.
- Irrigation systems and landscape design that will reduce potable water use for those systems by 63.7 percent.
- Low-flow restroom and shower facilities further reduce water use.
College Park Center is the centerpiece of the College Park District, a 20-acre, $160 million development that includes residence hall beds and apartments for 600 students and 27,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The development will open fully this summer.
For more about College Park Center, visit www.utacollegepark.com. Images and other facts about the venue are available at http://www.uta.edu/news/info/college-park-center-news.php.
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,500 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more.
Courtesy of UTA Media Relations