Classroom/Laboratory Building on Newburgh Campus is First LEED Gold Building in Orange County

PHOTO: Kaplan Hall from Grand StreetMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- Kaplan Hall, the recently constructed classroom building on SUNY Orange’s Newburgh campus, has become the first building–public or private–in Orange County to be awarded LEED® Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council.

In the 30 months since it opened, Kaplan Hall has rejuvenated the College’s academic programming in Newburgh while also establishing a true campus atmosphere for the nearly 1,500 students who utilize the site each semester. Additionally, the building has connected the College with the greater Newburgh community as it has quickly been embraced by local groups and organizations as a desirable location for meetings, workshops, seminars, cultural events and other gatherings.

Environmentally, the building has been a success as well. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction–Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum–that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five sustainable design categories. According to the USGBC, “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”

According to research conducted by JMZ Architects and Planners, the firm that designed the building, Kaplan Hall is only the 11th building at any college in the SUNY system to achieve the Gold classification. Half of the initial 10 buildings are at Cornell University. Only two other community colleges in New York–Monroe and Hudson Valley–have LEED certified buildings.

“We’re exceptionally proud to have attained LEED Gold Certification for Kaplan Hall. In this one building you can see Orange County’s commitment to our young people, education, the City of Newburgh, SUNY Orange and the environment,” said Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana. “I applaud the outstanding collaboration between Orange County DPW, SUNY Orange, JMZ, Holt Construction, and the other consultants and contractors that made this building not only beautiful, but environmentally friendly and functional as well. It’s another ‘first’ for Orange County–congratulations to the entire team that helped make it a reality.”

“This notable achievement reflects the shared commitment to sustainable design and construction by Orange County and the College,” added Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president. “And we could not have had a better design partner than JMZ. The entire JMZ staff embraced the mission of the College, understood our vision for collaborative educational spaces and created a stunning architectural masterpiece that is both beautiful and efficient.”

PHOTO: Kaplan HallSome of the exceptional sustainable design features and practices that were incorporated into the design of Kaplan Hall include careful modeling of sun shading to maximize natural light while limiting heat gain; highly efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; efficient lighting; a roof-mounted photovoltaic array; and the capture of roof rainwater in a 15,000-gallon cistern that is used to irrigate the vegetative rooftop of the underground parking garage, which serves as the campus plaza.

Tenée Rehm Casaccio, AIA, president of JMZ, said “We applaud the State of New York, Orange County and The Kaplan Family Foundations for their commitment to higher education and their impactful investment in the Newburgh campus of SUNY Orange. Kaplan Hall’s LEED Gold certification adds even more luster to this shining example of the power of public-private collaboration. We are thrilled with the results.”

Kaplan Hall uses 39 percent less energy than conventional buildings and the rooftop solar panels generate 20,000 kilowatt hours per year, saving the College approximately $3,000 annually. Interior fixtures and sensors reduce lighting energy use by 50 percent for a savings of $21,000 each year. High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment save the College nearly $40,000 annually.

The collected rainwater is used to irrigate the campus’ plantings, and storm water runoff is treated on site to remove contaminants before it enters the local watershed. Landscape plants are drought resistant, requiring less water usage. Inside the building, water-conserving fixtures reduce usage by 26.3 percent.

Approximately 44 percent of the construction materials used in the building came from Newburgh and the surrounding region. Recycled materials used in the building helped divert material from landfills and lox-toxicity building materials improve indoor air quality.

Additionally, this past fall the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) awarded Orange County a rebate of $389,213 in recognition of the many energy saving measures that were incorporated into the design.

To complete the Kaplan Hall construction, the County, College and JMZ partnered with the LA Group, Schoder Rivers Associates, Huston Engineering, Holt Construction and a wide array of local contractors, unions and suppliers.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940