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Chatham University release 1.21

January 21, 2011
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Chatham University plans sustainably designed campus in suburban Pittsburgh
Chatham University in Pittsburgh has unveiled a master plan that calls for developing a 388-acre site in Richland Township, Pa., into what it says will be the nation''s first fully sustainable campus.
The Eden Hall campus, donated to the university in 2008 by the Eden Hall Foundation, will be home to Chatham''s School of Sustainability and the Environment, whose inaugural class began studies in Fall 2010.
"There is tremendous pent-up demand for sustainability education," says David Hassenzahl, founding dean of the School of Sustainability and the Environment (SSE). "Over the next 10 years, SSE will offer bachelor''s through doctoral degrees, beginning with master''s programs, as well as professional certification in topics ranging from health care, energy and urban forestry to national security, aquaponics and education."
The campus plan envisions four phases of development, which will result in the construction of climate-positive facilities (where on-site greenhouse gas emissions are actually less than zero) and environmentally sensitive landscape design. Construction of Phase 1 is estimated to occur over a two- to three-year period at a cost of $30 million. It would begin with a resident student population of 100 and over the next decade would climb to 1,500 students.
"Eden Hall Campus will be the first academic institution designed from the beginning to integrate sustainable development, learning, and living," the master plan states. "The campus will weave together broad issues of sustainability to inform decision-making and the marketplace."
The university says that nearly half of the site''s 388 acres will be maintained as open space. Development of the campus will take place in four districts:
Mueller Center Campus. Here, Chatham will restore and preserve existing facilities, build academic and residential facilities, and restore the landscape. Among the facilities planned are an EcoCenter, a commons building, a greenhouse, an amphitheater, a sport complex, agricultural fields and a studio art complex.
Elsalma Center. This facility will be in the northwest corner of the campus and will focus on interaction with the public—local residents, tourists, researchers. It will include a conference center, a teaching kitchen, classrooms, workshops, an orchard, a farm market and a wellness center.
Stanford Hill. This section will occupy the northeast corner of the campus and include academic and residential buildings "set among forests, valley streams, meadows and constructed wetlands," the university says.
Elizabeth Meadows. Situated in the southeast part of the campus, this phase of the development will include parking facilities, townhomes for faculty, students and staff, and constructed wetlands.
"The design of each building, site and the campus overall will focus on transportation, views, materials, water systems, and energy systems to elevate the campus to the highest levels of sustainable performance," the plan states.
A campus-wide trail system will connect the major campus districts and accommodate convenient pedestrian and bicycle movement, the plan says. Major trails will be lighted to allow safe travel after dark. The trail networks will follow old horse trails and logging roads.
The master plan was done by architectural firm BNIM and landscape design firm Andropogon Associates. Click here to view it online (PDF file).
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