UPDATE: Randolph-Macon to build new "green" dorm

Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Randolph-Macon College will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new freshmen dorm Monday.

This dorm will much more "green" than many college buildings.

The new 100-bed building will have geo-thermal wells that will hold ground water for the heating and ventilating system.

It will feature a system to collect and recycle rain water for toilets and irrigation.

The school and Hanover County leaders are excited about the benefits this will have in the long run.

"We decided that catching rainwater off of the roof of the dorm and putting it into a cistern and then reusing it in the building, or for irrigation, was a good, comprehensive way to deal with storm water runoff -- the purpose of which is to protect the Chesapeake Bay," said Randolph-Macon Treasurer John Ahladas.

Before they could finalize these plans, college leaders had to check with the county.

Hanover leaders decided to change its code to allow Randolph Macon's rain harvesting plan.

Once built, a parallel piping system will allow rainwater to flush the toilets in the new dorm while County water will still be used for drinking and showering.

The project is expected to cost $9.5 million. School leaders did say on Monday that may be a little more expensive now because of the environmental aspects. But, they feel in the long run, it will be worth it.

"We have had the support of donors that will certainly help keep down the costs to our students," says school President Robert Lindgren.

He adds, "we hope it (the green dorm) will be something that other colleges will emulate, as well."

The "Ira Andrews" residence hall is the first dorm built since 1994.

We talked with some students on campus today, like Robert Scully, who's seen some big improvements over the years here. "I think the growth here is good overall."

Now, with this green dorm, that growth is taking a big step in the environmental direction.

Ira Andrews, who the dorm is named after, used to be a dean on campus and has more than 5 decades of service here. "Here's a living example of the forward looking movement of the students and faculty here at Randolph Macon."

The hall is expected to be completed by August 2011.

Looking even farther down the road, school leaders say they are planning to build and open another dorm next to the freshman hall by 2013. That building would be for seniors and would be very similar to the building that the ground was broken for on Monday.

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