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Oberlin College project receives ENR Midwest Best Project Award of Merit



The Peter B. Lewis Gateway Center in Oberlin, Ohio, has been named a 2017 ENR Midwest Best Project Award of Merit winner in the Green Projects category. IMEG provided MEP, fire protection, and technology design for the $27 million Oberlin College facility, designed to achieve LEED Platinum with the capability to reach net-zero energy consumption once tied in with the college’s solar farm. SCB was the architect for the project and Albert M. Higley Co. was the general contractor.


The Gateway Center is the crucial first step in achieving the goals of the college’s new Green Arts District, a 13-acre-block initiative that is designed to bring the arts and sciences together to create a transformative, 100 percent sustainable area. As such, the 104,000-square-foot Gateway Center is a model for high-performance buildings and integrated design, utilizing a groundbreaking mix of first-of-its-kind sustainable technologies and innovative visitor engagement strategies.


The four-story building includes the college’s admissions department and other offices, a flexible learning space called the OC Studio, a restaurant and bar, basement-level night club, and 11,000 square feet of ground-level retail. Several new systems (including displacement ventilation, dedicated outside air, heat recovery, and radiant heating and cooling tied to a geothermal field) were integrated with established systems in an innovative fashion to meet the project’s LEED Platinum sustainability goal. A geothermal water-to-water heat pump provide heating and cooling water for the ventilation air handling units, as well as the radiant panels in the hotel rooms, dining area, and offices.


The centerpiece of the Gateway Center is the new Hotel at Oberlin, a 70-key hotel and conference center poised to become a landmark on the campus at the northeast corner of the town’s Tappan Square. Described by The New York Times as “one of the most environmentally sustainable hotels in the world,” the Hotel at Oberlin is one of only five hotels in the U.S. designed to LEED Platinum standards and the first hotel in the country to employ radiant heating and cooling coupled with a geothermal system. The energy-efficient system and operable guest room windows of the hotel provides a quiet and comfortable environment for its patrons.


These and other sustainable features of the entire Gateway Center combine to provide an integrated, high-performance design that supports the cornerstone of the college’s future carbon-neutral community and places the building within the top ranking of commercial structures in North America, using 45.5 percent less energy than comparable buildings designed to the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 baseline.


The 2017 ENR Midwest Best Project Award winners will be profiled in the magazine’s November issue. Read more.