University Hall goes 'green'

October 30 2008

The more than 70-year-old University Hall on the Indiana State University campus retains its familiar brown brick exterior, but the building is going "green" as it undergoes a renovation to serve as the new home of the ISU College of Education.

"We're making extensive use of recycled steel in the interior studs of the building," said Steve Culp, construction manager with ISU Facilities Management.

Culp estimates as much of 90 percent of the steel being used in the renovation is recycled, with the use of newly forged steel limited to load-bearing walls.

It's just one way architects and contractors are reflecting Indiana State's commitment to environmental sustainability in the nearly $30 million renovation of the building.

Constructed in the 1930s as a Works Progress Administration project, the building features skylights to take full advantage of sunlight. The renovation will pay homage to that Depression-era energy conservation method, noted Brad Balch, dean of the college.

"One of the hallmarks of that renovation is the enclosure of the center atrium. The architects were able to develop skylights that capture the most amount of light necessary in the wintertime to help with the heating, but also reduce it to a minimum during those hot summer months when the light would be most direct and overhead," Balch said.

The renovation also incorporates other energy conservation features, including thermal pane windows, Culp noted.

"The windows have become a big factor in the insulation of classrooms. We've considered heat loss on all the outside walls by installing fin coil tubing heaters to minimize the heat loss throughout the building," Culp said.

A new heating and air conditioning allows for individual controls in each room - a sharp contrast to the "all or nothing" heating and cooling in the 15-story building at Statesman Towers that currently houses the college.

Once the college moves into its new home in fall 2009, it is expected to save approximately $1 million per year in energy costs.

The University Hall project also reflects Indiana State's commitment to sustainability because its location near the new Cherry Street Multi-Modal Transportation Facility makes it easy for those using the building to travel by public transportation. In addition, bike racks are provided, there is pedestrian access to a variety of amenities nearby and existing green space is preserved.

The fact that the building is being renovated rather than demolished and replaced also conserves natural resources since only a limited amount of new materials are required.

Balch says the renovation is a great tribute to the teaching that took place in University Hall during the five decades the building served as the ISU Lab School.

"As one walks through this newly-renovated building, you'll feel that clinical pedagogy coming through, a real commitment to our K-12 partners, micro-teaching that reflect the K-12 environment, and ample opportunities to invite into our University Hall our K-12 partners so they have opportunities to reflect on their work and grow from it as well," Balch said.

The building will also have ample area for educators to reflect on their teaching.

"Our K-12 partners tell us that they need a safe space, a place to come and think about their work, to ask questions of what's working and what is not and so as a part of this renovation, we've clearly carved out spaces for our K-12 partners to join us, because their reflections will always inform our pre-service education program work," he said.

Recognizing education is not always confined to what takes place in specific rooms; Balch said the building will also offer plenty of opportunity for incidental learning.

"Our students, both undergraduate and graduate, tell us that it's not always in the classroom; there are 13 classrooms that will be available, where the most powerful learning occurs. It's those chance interactions in the hallways or in a professor's office where they have opportunities to reflect one on one on their graduate or undergraduate program opportunities. So we are ensuring that throughout this building there's intimate, professional space for those chance interactions and some powerful learning opportunities that our students tell us were so important to their experience at ISU."

For others, ISU officials believe the newly renovated University Hall will be a symbol of the university's resurgence while honoring the traditions of its past.

"This will probably be the showcase of Indiana State University as far as buildings. It has so many opportunities for education value, for community service value, and for theatrics, speakers and tours. It accommodates so many more things than what we have in any current building on campus," Culp said.

Highlights of energy-efficient construction in University Hall renovation:
* Daylighting controls for artificial lighting in atrium
* Night chiller to accommodate small air conditioning loads
* Variable air volume controls to drastically reduce energy consumption by air handling system by minimizing cooling and reheating requirements
* Variable speed pumping in chilled and hot water systems
* Variable speed fans in air handling systems
* Ductwork sized to allow for reduced horsepower of fans
* Carbon dioxide sensors on air units serving large gathering spaces to reduce unnecessary heating and cooling of outside air
* Sensors on restroom lavatories to reduce water flow
* Dimming controls for classroom lighting
* Occupancy sensor controls for classroom and restroom lighting
* Variable frequency drives to control speed of electric motors

Natural lighting Retaining the use of skylights in the renovation of University Hall will help Indiana State University conserve energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Brown bricks hide 'green' construction A number of "green" building features are being incorporated into the nearly $30 million renovation of University Hall to serve as the new home of Indiana State University's College of Education.

Contact: Brad Balch, dean, College of Education, Indiana State University, 812-237-2919 or; Steve Culp, construction manager, Facilities Management, Indiana State University, 812-237-8183 or

Writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications & Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or

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Story Highlights

The more than 70-year-old University Hall on the Indiana State University campus retains its familiar brown brick exterior, but the building is going "green" as it undergoes a renovation to serve as the new home of the ISU College of Education. The nearly $30 million project uses a number of approaches to address energy conservation and environmental sustainability.

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