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First Indiana, Midwest Student Team Earns LEED Certification
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/14/2019

On Nov. 14, Ball State University will celebrate a milestone for the campus and for Indiana when it celebrates a second "green" certification for the David Letterman Communication and Media Building.

Ball State students are the first collegiate team in Indiana, the Midwest, and the Mid-American Conference -- the fifth university team in the world -- to certify that an existing building meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

"Our students participated in a comprehensive certification process that provided them with valuable professional skills," said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns. "This kind of immersive learning experience, which is the hallmark of a Ball State education, sets them apart from other graduates in their field."

Ball State will recognize the students' accomplishment with a reception at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 14 at the Letterman Building, which houses the office of the College of Communication, Information, and Media and its Departments of Telecommunications and Communication Studies. Commonly called the Letterman Building, the structure is named in honor of David Letterman, the University's most prominent alumnus, who attended its dedication in 2007.

"LEED is a transformative tool that ensures a building is designed and operated to achieve high performance, improve human health and protect the environment," said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. "By prioritizing sustainability, the David Letterman Building project is leading the way in their industry and helping USGBC continue towards our goal of green buildings for everyone within this generation."

After its construction in 2007 with funds from the State of Indiana, the Letterman Building was certified as LEED Silver, based on projections of energy efficiency, water use, and other factors. More than a decade later, Ball State students in LEED Lab, a USGBC initiative to engage college students, examined the Letterman Building's performance over the years.

In 2017, Janet Fick, associate lecturer of construction management, and James Jones, chair of the Department of Construction Management and Interior Design and Roan Distinguished Professor of Construction Management, mentored the students, with assistance and support from Bob Koester, founding director of Ball State's Center for Energy Research/Education/Service (CERES), and Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management.

The students confirmed that the Letterman Building lived up to its promise. In July of this year, it was certified LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M).

Ball State's Aaron Albright, a junior majoring in construction management and minoring in business administration, was in his first year of college when he was pulled into the group program, and he spent several weeks analyzing the Letterman Building.

"My job was to basically see how efficient the Letterman Building had become by analyzing recyclable content and renewable materials," said Albright, who is a resident of Waterloo, Indiana. "While it was a tedious project, it was worth it in the end to achieve the certification."

In the future, student teams will audit other buildings on campus and verify that they meet LEED standards. The next projects they are seeking second LEED certifications for are the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center and the Marilyn K. Glick Center for Glass.

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