Less than two years after opening to wide acclaim, the Lillis Business Complex at the University of Oregon's Lundquist College of Business is now being recognized as the most environmentally friendly business school facility in the country.
Completed in 2003 at a cost of $41 million, the new building is home to the Charles H. Lundquist College of Business and is a model of "green" building design, according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED. A program of the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a voluntary national standard for developing high-performance sustainable buildings.
The new building earned the program's "silver" designation, ranking it higher than any other business school in the nation and among the most environmentally conscious buildings on any U.S. college campus. Its amenities include the largest installation of architectural solar glass in the Northwest, which provides much of the building's electrical power and lighting systems that take advantage of sunlight, turning themselves off when not in use.
Dean James Bean said the college is on the leading edge of a national trend. "There are a number of new business school facilities going up around the country, and we've heard from some of those who are very interested in what we're doing here."
The building's most striking feature is a four-story atrium that forms the heart of the building and features scores of photovoltaic panels embedded in the glass walls. Carefully designed classrooms and offices may be used almost year-round without electric lighting. Shade controls automatically regulate temperature and glare.
Designed by SRG Partnership, a Portland-based architectural firm, the 195,600-square-foot complex was built partially with materials salvaged from the site's previous building, along with certified hardwoods and other sustainable resources. Low-flow water fixtures have been installed throughout the building.
In addition to making good sense, the building's environmental elements enhance students' educational experience, Bean said. "As the world moves forward, resources are becoming more scarce. Good business is going to be sustainable business," he said. "It was important for us to take a leadership position in this area because leading is what we teach our students, and we wanted to practice what we preach."
The LEED recognition comes at a time when universities and colleges nationwide are increasingly incorporating sustainable elements into building plans. The University of Oregon is at the forefront of that trend, with a campus that features a student union partially powered by wind power and a recreation center making strong use of solar energy.
None of the new building's elements comes at the expense of high-tech amenities, though. It offers a state-of-the-art wireless network and Internet access, multimedia equipment, a distance-learning classroom outfitted with teleconferencing technology, and more. It also features flexible class spaces, small-group team project rooms, and six learning centers that cluster student resources, study areas, and faculty offices around particular disciplines. Borrowing the "huddle zone" concept from the corporate world, these shared spaces encourage interaction by bringing together faculty and students with common interests.
The complex was funded almost entirely with private gifts. Former MediaOne Group Chairman Chuck Lillis, who earned a Ph.D. from the business college in 1972, and his wife Gwen donated $14 million for the building and led a fund-raising effort that has generated $38 million in private support.
The Charles H. Lundquist College of Business is a 91-year-old institution that has earned national recognition for the quality of its programs in recent years. Both U.S.News & World Report and Entrepreneur magazine list the college's Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship as one of the nation's best. Similarly, the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center is recognized by sports journalists across the country as the nation's leading sports business program.
To learn more about the Lillis Business Complex and its 'green' design, please visit the Lillis Business Complex Page.