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Feb. 21, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

National magazine spotlights Patterson

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University's $2.5-million addition to Patterson Hall will be featured in an upcoming Architecture Leaders Today magazine, illustrating SRU's sustainability success in repurposing and remodeling old buildings.

The article will be headlined "Additions and Renovations to the Wellness Center at Patterson Hall." The magazine covers innovative projects that are a part of today's international architecture dialogue.

Interest in "green architecture " has heightened attention to the ethic of preservation as a cornerstone of sustainability. Repurposing buildings, as opposed to building new ones, saves money and helps to minimize energy costs and emissions.

"We have to reduce our [greenhouse] emissions to meet our Climate Commitment goals, regardless of how many new buildings we add, so reusing/repurposing existing buildings is important," said Paul Scanlon, SRU special assistant to the president and sustainability coordinator.

Patterson Hall, built in 1958, served as a residence hall until 2008, when the University repurposed the building into an academic facility for the department of exercise and rehabilitative science. The project expanded Patterson by 2,720 square feet, while workers demolished walls and ceilings to create more openness, day lighting and natural ventilation. They used chemical-free paints and anti-bacterial flooring.

Earlier this year, the University completed a two-story addition to Patterson that added new classrooms, laboratories and instructional space. The 8,300-square-foot addition includes a top floor with open lab space, a sound system and mirrors. The bottom floor includes an exercise technology laboratory with new treadmills and elliptical machines that receive fitness instruction and save data of flash drives. The equipment is used for classroom study.

Scanlon said the recognition from Architecture Leaders Today illustrates SRU's success in demonstrating the three R's of sustainability: reduce, reuse and recycle.

SRU has established a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2037. Scanlon said three important strategies include conserving energy in existing buildings, reducing the number and size of new buildings constructed and maximizing the energy efficiency of any new buildings by using the latest technology. The Patterson project meets all three priorities.

"Following through on the strategies will reduce the required investments in future central plant improvements and new, renewable energy generation projects because we'll have a smaller energy load to serve," Scanlon said.

Like all SRU renovations, the Patterson addition was designed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, he said.

"The new lighting, heating/ventilating/air-conditioning and building automation system controls are all very energy efficient and environmentally-friendly products and materials were used," Scanlon said.

Patricia Pierce, professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences and department chair, said the Patterson project benefits SRU's 700 exercise science majors. SRU has shown fitness leadership in the classroom and campuswide by launching "Exercise is Medicine" and other initiatives.

"We have good students who come here, and we are able to offer them the best educational environment," she said. "That is the way we operate as a faculty, now the facility brings it all together."

Patterson provides access to a whole range of cardiovascular and resistance-training equipment used in exercise science courses, said Jeff Lynn, associate professor of exercise and rehabilitative sciences. The sophistication of the equipment provides a recruitment boost.

"It's not just about bricks and mortar. We now have the best technology in the world to prepare our students," Lynn said. "We're the only academic program in the state that has this type of facility with this high tech equipment."

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.