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Construction of the Green Prairie Community Nears Completion

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Jul. 10, 2013

After more than five years of planning and seven months of labor, construction of the new Green Prairie Living and Learning Community is nearly complete. This new residence hall complements Morris’s focus on environmental sustainability and marks the first residence hall construction on campus since 1971. The two-story facility will provide housing for 72 students during the academic year as well as living and learning spaces for research, workshops, and programs linked to campus renewable energy platforms. The Green Prairie Community is Morris’s first fully accessible residence hall.

The building was designed not only to complement the existing campus aesthetic, but also to meet Minnesota B3 sustainability guidelines and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold standards. The facility’s location was intended to capitalize on green design possibilities, and its makeup includes regional and recycled materials. It will sport interior finishes and features similar to those utilized in the campus Welcome Center, including insulated concrete floors and energy-efficient heating and cooling systems.

The residence hall is comprised of four wings, two of which are reserved for students interested in pursuing sustainable lifestyles. The Office of Residential Life and the Office of Sustainability are working together to create unique programming for these themed floors, which will require residents to engage in one of four teams focused on select aspects of green living. All wings will house community kitchens and common spaces to provide what Roger Purdy, construction administrator with LBH, Inc., calls a “lab for green living.” Residents of the themed floors were selected through an application process, while those on the remaining floors were chosen by a lottery.

Despite harsh weather conditions, construction of the Green Prairie Living and Learning Community remained on schedule through the winter of 2013. Only the late spring delayed work on the exterior of the building. Contractors were able to begin installing the brick and stucco finishes in May, however, and landscaping will begin mid-July.

According to Rick Lock, site supervisor with McGough Construction, “we’ve made good progress” as far as construction is concerned. In the project’s final weeks, Lock looks forward to seeing the facility evolve “from a construction site to a brand-new building.”

All construction and interior design is expected to be complete by the August 25, 2013, move-in day for students living on campus. A dedication will take place on Saturday, September 28, in conjunction with Homecoming festivities.

The Green Prairie Living and Learning Community was designed by LHB, Inc., a multi-disciplinary engineering, architecture, and planning firm dedicated to being environmentally responsible, reducing long-term operating costs, and improving the quality of life for its clients. McGough Construction served as general contractor.