Wayne State University recently added its seventh Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified building. The STEM Innovation Learning Center earned LEED Gold — WSU’s third — from the U.S. Green Building Council.
“Facilities Planning and Management is extremely proud to add LEED Gold certification to the list of achievements for the STEM Innovation Learning Center,” said Ashley Flintoff, FP&M’s director of planning and space management. “This building was a labor of love — seven years in the making — and it’s wonderful to see students embrace the open, collaborative nature of the renovation."
In response to an increased demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses, Wayne State partnered in 2017 with construction managers at Granger Construction, and designers and engineers at NORR and Fishbeck, to build the STEM Innovation Learning Center. The project was completed in June 2020 and involved completely transforming WSU’s existing seven-story facility, which was built in 1970 and first served as the Science and Engineering Library.
"With this project, we pushed the boundaries of what classrooms, laboratories and student space looks like at Wayne State" Flintoff said. "To hear and see students, faculty excited to teach and spend time in the building really reinforces why we work so hard to bring these dreams to reality.”
The STEM Innovation Learning Center was designed to bring university STEM programs under one roof, in addition to housing chemistry, computer science, biomedical engineering, basic engineering, physics, math and biology courses. The facility features flexible classrooms, seminar spaces and offices, as well as a variety of high-tech, instructional laboratories. New maker-hacker spaces also offer students interdisciplinary exposure to develop their skill sets outside a traditional classroom setting.
“On behalf of the entire Wayne State University community, I want to extend congratulations to our Facilities, Planning and Management team for being awarded LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council and on the construction of our new STEM Building,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson. “This is a magnificent achievement. They not only renovated an existing structure with all the latest technology available, saving the university hundreds of thousands of dollars, but accomplished all of this while thinking green.”
Originally, the project targeted LEED Silver status, but came through with the Gold — the second-highest level in the LEED system, behind Platinum but above Silver. To earn LEED Gold, every detail counts. For example, construction was done using low-emitting paints, lighting, flooring and ceilings, along with including regular compost collection and offsite processing by providing organic waste receptacles. The U.S. Green Building Council’s scoring system awards points for achieving specific goals. Among the qualities the certification looks for are sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
“WSU sought additional points to achieve LEED Gold by conducting advanced testing to validate building performance through enhanced commissioning, implementing a compost program and utilizing various water conservation techniques,” said Daryl Pierson, chief sustainability officer in the Office of Campus Sustainability. “LEED Gold is a great accomplishment for the university as it represents WSU's commitment to excellence. Achieving this doesn't happen without the effort of many individuals and organizations working together. This is a green building standard that was earned, and one that I am very proud of.”
Other Wayne State buildings to achieve the LEED distinction:
- Integrative Biosciences Center (IBio) - LEED Gold
- Advanced Technology Education Center (ATEC) - LEED Gold
- Marvin I. Danto Engineering Development Center - LEED Silver
- Richard J. Mazurek Medical Education Commons - LEED Silver
- A. Paul Schaap Chemistry Building and Lecture Hall - LEED Silver
- Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments - LEED Silver