Kingsport broke ground on the new $10 million center back in July and is on track to have the facility open for the fall 2009 semester. The 54,000-square-foot center is located at the corner of Clay and Market streets in the downtown area and will be able to accommodate approximately 800 students.
The facility will be the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified green higher education building in the state, incorporating a range of green architecture and energy-efficient technologies.
The Economic Development Administration has awarded Kingsport $1.5 million toward the project ($677,000 of which went toward meeting LEED certification). Last month, the city was notified it could receive an additional $350,000 in EDA funds. Around the same time, the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded Kingsport $50,000 in funds for the LEED certification.
David Mason, construction project manager for the center, said the city is still ironing out the details on what the $350,000 will go toward.
“When (the EDA) came to us and said they had additional money, we had pretty much already identified everything that we could attach a cost to, to recover grant money for,” Mason said. “We looked to see if there was something additional we could do — something that wasn’t financially justified previously.”
Mason said the city looked at items that would not require major design changes to the building and came up with two ideas — solar panel arrays on the roof and a rainwater capture system. Mason said the city decided on the solar panels and is in the process of determining their cost.
The $50,000 in ARC funds will go toward purchasing an interactive building energy measurement system, or “building dashboard,” that will be available on the Internet and in the facility at a kiosk, Mason said, noting the device ties into the LEED certification.
As far as the initial $1.5 million in funds, Mason said $677,000 went toward LEED items such as solar shades, light shelves, high-performance glass, a state-of-the-art insulation system, wood products from sustainable harvesting organizations, and upgraded lighting controls.
The remainder of the funds went toward the general construction cost of the facility.
Once the facility is built, Mason said a third party will come in and verify the energy efficiency of the building.
“You want to be as energy efficient as possible, and it gives us something to showcase for the community,” Mason said. “With LEED certification you’re basically making the statement you’re putting another item in the mix, and we want it to reach a certain level of efficiency that would be above the bar of typical.”
As a component of this project, Kingsport plans to provide a range of promotional and training opportunities on energy-efficient construction to the local building community, the school system, city employees and to the general public.
The facility will offer self-guided tours and exhibits on energy-efficient building design.