The new Center for Science and Mathematics will feature several “green” improvements to achieve LEED credentials. Photo by Nha Ha / Mustang Daily
The new Center for Science and Mathematics will feature several “green” improvements to achieve LEED credentials. Photo by Nha Ha / Mustang Daily

Amanda Margozzi

As construction on the Center for Science and Mathematics comes to a close, classes for Fall 2013 are open on Plan a Student Schedule (PASS) and scheduled into rooms of the brand new six-story building. Often referred to as Area 52, the building was designed with respect to the environment and will exemplify sustainability upon opening.

A green roof was installed on the fourth floor of the building according to KCI Environmental, Inc. President Curt Boutwell, whose company has also installed a green roof on the recreation center. The green roof is vegetated with sedum plants, similar to succulents, and has an irrigation system which will be used at low volumes during the summer months to keep the sedum plants alive.

“The sedum plants do not require much water at all and the green roof is going to help lower the temperature of the inside and outside of the building by up to 10 degrees,” Boutwell said. “The roof will soak in the water when it rains and this will reduce excess rain runoff.”

Intensive and extensive roof gardens will also increase the lifespan of the roof and create a new wildlife habitat. Boutwell said the green roof was not a part of the original construction package, however, the university wanted to make everything about the building as eco-friendly and efficient as possible.

Among the many sustainability strategies used in construction, the structural framing on the building is made from recycled steel and fly ash is used in the concrete. Regional materials, such as stone from local quarries, were also used. High efficiency plumbing fixtures and waterless urinals will conserve water and storm water will be reused.

“LEED credits have been obtained,” Boutwell said. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) consists of an array of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods.

Boutwell said the green construction of the building will keep Cal Poly modern and make it stand out among some of the older-looking math and science buildings. He said the enthusiasm of College of Science and Mathematics Dean Phil Bailey about the building is contagious.

Civil engineering sophomore Tim Forrest said while no engineering departments have had a role in the design or construction of the new building, he was able to take a tour of the construction site with the Cal Poly Society of Civil Engineers.

“During the tour, they listed so many ways in which the building was sustainable, but what stuck in my mind the most is the implementation of rainwater harvesting on the roof and putting windows in strategic locations for natural lighting,” Forrest said.

Glass has been specifically placed so there is filtered direct sunlighting in public spaces and appealing views. The building uses natural ventilation through operable windows that will improve the comfort of the occupants. There are radiant floors that will cool and heat office space efficiently without the use of unnecessary fan power.

“I think the building will benefit the CP community because it represents that Cal Poly is a campus that is always changing and adapting to the requirements of our modern society, and being located in the center of campus we will always remember that,” Forrest said.

Students will be able to monitor resource utilization of the building through visual real-time displays. Data on the various uses of the building is collected and will be displayed in an artistic manner through flat-screen monitors.

“Personally, I think one of the biggest benefits will be how the building will change how the campus is perceived,” civil engineering senior Patrick Slagle said. “I believe current students will have more pride in their school and Cal Poly will look more appealing to prospective students.”

Located symbolically at the geographic center of the Cal Poly campus, the Center for Science and Mathematics is Cal Poly’s largest building. An adjacent centennial park will include landscaped areas, mountain views and outdoor gathering spaces to add to the environmentally friendly aura of the building.

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