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Given a choice between building new student housing or an indoor track facility, both of which were needed, college officials at North Central College in suburban Chicago’s Naperville, Ill., decided on a third option — they built a facility that combined both under one roof.
The resulting Residence Hall/Recreation Center — which can house up to 365 students and features a 200-meter indoor track — is an innovative, environmentally friendly solution that already has earned the college and the builder two construction awards.
The facility was named the 2011 Best Sustainable Design by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). The new center also received an honorable mention in the Harry H. Edwards Industry Advancement Award category, also a PCI honor.
According to the college’s sustainability coordinator, the building’s sustainable design and construction preserves green space within the campus as well as promotes an active and healthy student lifestyle.
The dormitory features single- and double-occupancy rooms and surrounds the recreation area, which is comprised of multipurpose courts, exercise equipment and the indoor track.
At 198,000 square feet, the building is considered large for the campus, but it is not imposing. While institutional, it blends into its surroundings with its traditional, low-rise student housing appearance, but with “hand-made” accents.
Looks, however, can be deceiving because the building was primarily constructed using a pre-cast concrete building system.
For example, the facility’s large, precast concrete panels — some of which are 50 feet tall — resemble hand-laid clay masonry and feature stone accent details. Two masonry paints were used to finish the building — a base coat that resembles “joints” and “stones” and a cover coat that mimics “brick.”
The walls and floors were constructed using highly-engineered precast concrete sandwich panels instead of traditional stud-insulation and drywall for the walls or poured toppings for floors — saving on construction time, materials and costs. The panels were locally produced and composed of about 40% recycled materials.
The exterior walls are energy-efficient (rated R-19), fire-resistant and can withstand an EF-5 tornado — winds from 261 mph to 318 mph. The exposed concrete mass walls also provide excellent soundproofing.
Other energy-saving features include:
- A white membrane roof to reduce heat-island effect
- Geothermal loops to help heat the building
- Individual thermostat and lighting controls for comfort and efficiency
- Energy-efficient windows
Radiant heating, high-velocity air conditioning and heat recovery ventilators make the structure 40% to 50% more energy-efficient than standard wood construction.
The building is rated at an Energy Star 5+ level and has earned a LEED Silver rating.
For more information on building with concrete, visit the Concrete Home Building Coalition website at www.nahb.org/concrete; or email Tony Gacek at NAHB, or call him at 800-368-5242 x8357.
This article was provided by industry experts of NAHB’s Concrete Home Building Coalition, part of the NAHB’s Building Systems Councils. The coalition is sponsored by the American Concrete Institute, the National Concrete Masonry Association and the Portland Cement Association.
To learn more about the various types of residential concrete construction, go to www.nahb.org/ConcreteVideo. To learn more about the Concrete Specialization Courses through the Home Builders Institute’s Residential Construction Superintendent Series, visit www.hbi.org/concrete.