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Cohen Center third William & Mary building to get LEED Gold

  • Tribe pride
    Tribe pride  The Gold LEED plaque is prominently displayed in the Cohen Center's lobby.  Photo by Stephen Salpukas
  • Wall of windows
    Wall of windows  The floor to ceiling windows in the Cohen Center's lobby flood the first and second floors with natural light.  Photo by Paul Burk, courtesy of the Cohen Center
  • Rearview
    Rearview  This view of the Cohen Center is from Zable Stadium.  Photo by Paul Burk, courtesy of the Cohen Center
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The Cohen Career Center is the latest of three of the College of William & Mary’s recently constructed facilities to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold Certification from the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC), the third since spring of 2010.  Completed in the fall of 2010, the project was designed by Cunningham|Quill Architects and built by Whiting-Turner Construction. It joins the School of Education and Alan B. Miller Hall at the Business School. Several other buildings have received other level LEED certification, including the Jamestown Dorms and the renovated Rec Center.

“We are pleased that each of these new facilities has been recognized with Gold certification from USGBC,” said Anna Martin, vice president for administration. “It is the commitment to the principles of sustainability by all involved that moves us forward.”

The Cohen Center was recognized for its use of existing parking, systems that reduced water usages, efficient HVAC equipment and a narrow building width which allows natural light to penetrate to most occupied spaces.

“Strategically located at an active campus crossroads for students, alumni and recruiters, the LEED Gold Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen Career Center serves as a daily reminder of the College of William & Mary’s strong commitment to sustainable design,” said Lee Quill, principal of Cunningham|Quill Architects.  “With careful attention paid throughout the design process to site selection, material choices, day lighting and building environmental systems, this new career center establishes a standard of excellence for sustainability in an historic context."

LEED® is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at lessening the impact on the environment. Certification levels range from certified to platinum – with gold being the second highest possible. USGBC bases their certification on several criteria including sustainable sites, water efficiency, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovative design.

Mary Schilling, director of the Cohen Center, noted the College’s commitment to achieve at least LEED Silver with all of its new construction but said it was her goal “from the get-go” to achieve the LEED Gold certification.

“From the architectural firm through the construction crew we were committed to build this project in the most sustainable way we could,” Schilling said.

The $7.9 million project includes 11,000-gross-square-foot and more than doubles the space the center previously occupied in Blow Hall. The building, which sits between Zable Stadium and the Sadler Center, features a two story reception area and resource lounge, 80-seat presentation room, offices for professional career counselors to meet individually with students and a recruitment suit on the second floor that includes fifteen interview rooms.

The Center’s more highly visible location is doing its job. Schilling noted that in the Center’s first year in its new location walk-in appointments increased 145% and total in-person student contacts increased 54% to 11,776, up from 7,657.

“It makes it so much easier that trying to attract students to the basement of Blow Hall for programs and services,” she said.

The project was made possible by a generous $6 million gift by Sherman and Gloria H. Cohen as well as gifts from alumni, parents and employers.  Sherman Cohen, a New York City real estate developer, attended the College in 1938.