Ohio Wesleyan University Earns LEED Silver Certification for State-of-the-Art Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center

Ohio Wesleyan’s Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center has been awarded LEED Silver Certification. It is OWU’s first LEED-certified ‘green’ building. (Photo by Natalie Fisher ’12)

DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University announced today it has been awarded LEED® Silver Certification for its Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center—the first LEED-certified building constructed on the OWU campus. LEED is the nation’s pre-eminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance, environmentally friendly “green” buildings.

The Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center, 150 S. Henry St., features a 90-well geothermal energy system that helps to heat and cool the building and a heat-recovery system that captures excess heat from ventilation air to warm water for the pool. The LEED-certified center is estimated to operate 28 percent more efficiently than a comparable building without its special features.

“The Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center was carefully designed and built to incorporate the best practices of sustainable, responsible construction,” said President Rock Jones, Ph.D. “It meets its mission as a state-of-the art athletics facility and also sets the standard for future environmentally friendly campus enhancements. We are honored to have earned LEED Silver Certification for this project.”

In addition to the geothermal wells and heat-recovery system, the 24,300-square-foot Meek Center also features:

  • A reflective clay-tile roof.
  • Recycled, regionally produced, and low-VOC-emitting (volatile organic chemical) building materials.
  • Low-flow water faucets and fixtures and waterless urinals.
  • Daylighting and outside views from 90 percent of interior building spaces.
  • Outdoor bicycle racks and a new pedestrian walkway to encourage visitors to ride or walk to the facility.
  • Landscaping and irrigation systems designed to reduce water use.
  • An on-site retention pond that collects rainwater to irrigate plantings.
  • Plantings that are native to central Ohio (or cultivated from native species) that have been strategically placed to reduce the need for irrigation.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), with projects verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Nearly 40,000 projects currently participate in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising nearly 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses, and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

Opened in October 2010, Ohio Wesleyan’s Meek Aquatics and Recreation Center was designed by the Toledo, Ohio-based Collaborative Inc. The building features a 10-lane, 25-yard-by-25-meter pool swimming pool, 13-foot-deep diving well, and 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards. It is named in recognition of 1959 OWU graduates Phillip J. and Nancy La Porte Meek of Frankfort, Mich., who gave a lead gift of $3.5 million to help fund the $10 million facility. The Meek Center was funded entirely with alumni contributions and grants, including $1.1 million in federal funds to support the geothermal energy system.

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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