Building and Grounds Committee talks construction

Board of Visitors members discuss sustainability, Rotunda renovations

During the Board of Visitors’ Building and Grounds Committee meeting, members approved plans to remove a decrepit building adjacent to the Leake Building and build a new parking garage.

In addition to approving the plans to remove the decrepit building, committee members also heard from University Architect David Neuman, who discussed the numerous ongoing construction projects on Grounds.

The Board also heard presentations regarding sustainability at the University, including far-reaching proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce nitrogen emissions. The committee also discussed updating the University Sustainability website and promoting Earth Week activities.

“Heating and energy usage is going down,” said Cheryl Gomez, co-chair of environmental impact at the University. “Electricity usage is pretty substantially going down. That constitutes to $6-8 million saved if we were to continue at that rate. It’s not only moving us into the direction of sustainability, but it also really makes sense financially.”

Allison Leach, a graduate student in the Environmental Science department, gave a presentation about nitrogen emissions activities at the University with Environmental Science Prof. James Galloway. Their goals coincided with the University’s already proposed plan to reduce carbon emissions.

“There is substantial overlap between carbon and nitrogen footprints,” Leach said. “We have a win-win situation. That means when we do things to reduce our carbon footprint, we reduce our nitrogen footprint.”

They hope to reduce the University’s nitrogen footprint 25 percent by 2025. They also touched on the role food producers at the University played in the reductions. Food producers are one of the highest nitrogen-producing groups associated with the University.

“We used our model to analyze many different strategies and how they will affect our plan,” Leach said. “We’ve been working with dining services over the last few years, and we realized their plans are very similar to ours.”

Neuman also discussed future plans for the Rotunda renovations. Some of the new construction projects include fixing the elevator and increasing fire protection in the Rotunda.

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