Upgrades Abound

At Dickinson, major building renovations are a blend of past, present and future

Extensive renovations at Althouse Hall make the 52-year-old building more user-friendly and sustainable, enough so that it was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating from the United States Green Building Council.

Home to the departments of Africana studies, economics and international business & management, Althouse is the third campus building in two years to receive a LEED-Gold rating. The designation also was awarded to the Stuart and James halls of the Rector Science Complex and the Center for Sustainable Living (Treehouse).

Althouse, which originally housed the chemistry and geology departments, was constructed in 1957-58 using limestone and a design in keeping with the materials used to build its much older neighboring iconic structures, Old West and East College.

The traditional appearance is seamlessly paired with modern upgrades that showcase the college’s emphasis on present-day and future sustainability.

Dickinson also plans to apply for, at minimum, LEED-Silver certification to the Waidner Admissions House and Kaufman Hall after renovations are done at both sites. Waidner interior renovations are scheduled for completion in November. The first phase of the Kaufman renovations, which include replacement of the roof, should be finished by August 2011.

The area between the Quarry and Althouse also is getting an upgrade—a limestone trellis surrounded by swales that will be dotted with an array of plants, trees and evergreen shrubs, all designed to limit stormwater runoff.

Renovations at Waidner—the first building many first-time visitors to Dickinson enter—are designed to send a bold and powerful message to prospective students and their families. Improvements include a two-story, 4,600-square-foot addition that will feature a large meeting area for group information sessions.

New bathrooms also are in the works. According to a Facilities Management renovation update report to the board of trustees in May, “One of the first things most visitors are looking for when they enter [Waidner], after a sizeable journey, is the bathroom, and therefore the bathrooms need to provide a good impression as well.”

Dickinson’s efforts to enhance traditional structures with environmentally friendly amenities and building practices are paying off. In August, when Althouse received a LEED-Gold rating, Sierra Magazine named Dickinson one of America’s greenest colleges. Dickinson placed second among the nation’s 20 “coolest schools,” up from 19th place a year ago.

Published May 8, 2011