Photo by De'Noia Woods, Photography Intern

The university’s first ever LEED-certified building came in a rather small package: that of the Diane Dailey Golf Learning Center. Though the building encompasses a much smaller area than either the LEED-designed South Hall or new Admissions Center, through careful design and collaboration, the team ensured LEED Gold certification.

Designed and funded in response to the golf teams’ profile on the national athletic stage, the building features high-tech updates including heated hitting bays, a state-of-the-art filming system and new golf radar technology. The building also houses an indoor putting room outfitted with the latest video putting training system.

“We needed to help our student athletes be successful in their sport by improving the practice facilities,” Becky Ward, Associate Athletic Director of Special Projects, said.

Ward acted as the owner representative on the project and usually heads up Athletics design and construction-related projects by acting as a bridge between the Athletics department, the wider university and outside contractors.

In addition to meeting the technical needs of the student athletes, the new Golf Center was the first athletics structure to feature an emphasis on sustainable design and construction at the university. LEED-accredited architect, Larry Robbs of Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects, worked as the lead designer on the project. He used his extensive background as a LEED designer to work with Ward and the university to eke out as many LEED certification points as possible from the small space.

One of the most successful category for the project was “Sustainable Sites.” This group of sustainable criteria takes into account everything from light pollution to landscaping to footprint of building compared to size of site. The golf center earned 10 out of 14 points in this category because of its prime location and attention to exterior aesthetics. Its location within the Reynolda Campus ensured pedestrian access and eliminated the need for an asphalt parking area.

In addition, Robbs and Ward worked extensively with David Davis, Manager of Landscaping Services, to minimize manicured areas and the need for irrigation and to maximize the use of native plants to encourage wildlife habitat and decrease maintenance. It is important to note that when determining eligibility for LEED, the driving range was not included as part of the building site.

Other key sustainable features included the use of an innovative heat reflecting roofing tile that closely matches the aesthetic of the campus but reflects sunlight to decrease energy consumption for cooling in the summer. The interior of the building was entirely outfitted with paints, sealants and adhesives that were low in VOCs to improve air quality inside the facility.

“In the long run, it’s not about the certificate hanging on the wall. It is about our environment, our staff in the environment and the student athletes in the environment,” Ward said of the importance of sustainable design.

Ward is currently working on an educational campaign for the building to instruct students on how best to use the new facilities and increase awareness of its unique features.

“Sustainable design requires active participation by the user of the building,” Robbs said. “That’s the only thing that will make it work.”

By Caitlin Brooks, Communications and Outreach Intern