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SG senate: Should new MC be green?

Depending on the standards by which the University of South Florida student union is built, the school colors could take on a new meaning.Laura Bedinger and Daniel Miller, two USF graduate students, presented arguments to persuade the Student Government senate to support making the Phyllis P. Marshall Center “Green and Gold.” They want the center to be built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, making it a “green” building. It would need a 56.5 percent rating on a checklist of features to receive certification as a “gold” building.

Bedinger claims that building “green” is energy and water efficient and would use about 45 percent less energy and about 20 percent less water. They used University of Florida’s Rinker Hall as an example of how they envision the new Marshall Center. Rinker Hall was Florida’s first LEED certified building and was built by Gould Evans, one of the architects hired to build the new Marshall Center.

According to Bedinger, to register, submit complete documentation of and officially certify the Marshall Center as a LEEDS building would cost $18,000, but Bedinger argued that the extra money spent would be returned tenfold, stating that other LEED-certified buildings save $80,000 a year in utility expenses.

In an e-mail from Marshall Center Director Guy Conway to SG senate President Frank Harrison regarding LEED certification, Conway stated that with an estimated construction budget of $45 million, USF would need to reallocate up to $900,000 dollars from the construction budget. In turn, they would have to cut about 4,000 square feet from the size of the union.

“Even to reduce a little from (various) areas would mean that students would get a smaller building or fewer services,” Conway said. “I do not think that most students in the general population want to give up those things in order to be LEED certified.”

Instead, Conway wishes to pursue a sustainable design without pursuing the certification.

“We can do a lot of sustainable design that costs very little,” he said.

According to Bedinger, certifying the Marshall Center would bring recognition to USF and enthuse its students and not cost too much extra. There are zero LEED-certified buildings in Tampa, but future buildings will strive to be LEEDS certified. She said USF could be part of this movement.Miller has said they will speak to Conway on the issue later in the week.