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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s continuing commitment to sustainability will transform northeastern Wisconsin when construction begins on what will be the most environmentally friendly and efficient building of its kind in the state.

The groundbreaking for one of the Midwest’s most distinctive and “green” academic buildings will take place at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at the corner of High and Rockwell avenues. UW Oshkosh’s more than 13,000 current students and tens of thousands of future students will be impacted by the long-awaited 191,000-square-foot academic center — the University’s first new academic building since 1971.

The building is among the largest single construction projects in the history of northeastern Wisconsin’s New North. Using conservative estimates, the much-needed project will directly and indirectly generate more than 2,000 jobs, including those in construction-related fields such as masonry, electrical, architecture, pipefitting and plumbing over the next three years, providing a big boost to the regional economy in the midst of a global economic recession.

“We are all grateful for our many supporters for their outstanding commitment to the UW Oshkosh community,” said Arthur H. Rathjen, president of the UW Oshkosh Foundation, adding that the pride.purpose.promise. campaign will now focus on scholarships and high-impact learning initiatives.”

In support of UW Oshkosh’s Green Master Plan, adopted in 2003, and the University’s dedication to green and sustainable principles, the design of this iconic building will incorporate LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) principles. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

“As Wisconsin continues to move toward energy independence, bringing public buildings up to the highest energy efficiency and green standards will continue to be crucial in developing and sustaining energy independence,” said Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Tom Sonnleitner.

By incorporating “gold” LEED standards, the University is projected to save more than $182,000 annually and close to $6 million throughout the center’s lifecycle, as compared to existing building energy usage. Some specific green aspects — from construction to occupation — are as follows:

  • Emphasis on the purchase of local materials and resources.
  • Projected energy savings of 41 percent.
  • Roof-top solar collectors will provide 70 percent of domestic hot water demand.
  • Radiant concrete slab flooring for heating and cooling — the first of its kind in the state.
  • Day-lighting of more than 90 percent of regularly occupied spaces, reducing electric energy for lighting by more than one third.
  • Heat recovery system that exchanges the heat of warm exhausted air with the fresh air intake.
  • Maximized water efficiency to reduce demand and decrease waste.
  • Use rapidly renewable materials and certified wood.
  • Incorporate salvaged/recycled materials.

To learn more about sustainability initiatives on campus as well as the Green Master Plan, visit www.uwosh.edu/sustainability/campus.

Follow the construction of the new building via live video at www.uwosh.edu/home/new-academic-building.