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“Green” Residence Hall Opens at University of Maine at Farmington


Frances Allen Black Hall

FARMINGTON, MAINE (March 3, 2006)–The University of Maine at Farmington boasts a new environmentally-friendly residence hall named for the late UMF alumna Frances Allen Black, class of 1933. A celebratory ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 4 p.m., Wednesday, March 15, in the building’s lobby. Frances Allen Black bequeathed $1.4 million to the university to endow the E. Irene Allen (class of 1928) and Frances Allen Black Scholarship Fund which awards more than $70,000 a year to out-of-state students.

The new $4.5 million Frances Allen Black Hall, designed by JSA Architects, Portsmouth, N.H., and built by Ledgewood Construction, Portland, is 36,100 square-feet; stands five stories tall; and contains sixteen four-bedroom single-bed suites, eight four-bed double suites, four efficiency apartments (for resident assistants and visiting faculty), and one resident director apartment: for a total of 102 beds. Each suite features a kitchen, common area, and private restroom and is in close proximity to the study lounges and laundry facilities on each floor. The entry floor features a 16-rack bicycle storage room, kitchen, game room, offices, and comfortable “hang-out” spaces for students.

The new residence hall is UMF’s first “green” building and is soon expected to attain “certified” level from the United States Green Building Council’s LEED system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a national rating system designed to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices.

It is estimated that FAB Hall will be 50 percent more energy-efficient than a standardly constructed building with the majority of its LEED points earned as a result of its thermal characteristics. “In a typical building much of the heat loss is through the framing of the exterior walls. With FAB Hall, the insulation is literally wrapped around the exterior wall system outside of the framing which will reduce the heat loss and lower operating costs,” according to Robert Lawrence, UMF director of facilities.

“Green” components on the inside of FAB Hall include recycling stations on each floor; sensor lighting throughout the building; and low toxic-emitting carpet, paint and sealants. To the delight of students, each suite is equipped with its own climate control system and energy-efficient, operable windows which allow proper ventilation and promote better air quality. “FAB is really great, we can actually regulate the heat in our bathroom,” said Erica Barnhart, first year student from Nashua, N.H. “I also love the large windows which let in a lot of natural light. We rarely turn on the lights during a sunny day.”

The low-cost/high-efficiency performance of both FAB Hall and the university’s new $8.8 million Education Center, which is also slated for LEED certification and is currently under construction, will demonstrate that a LEED certified facility is a viable and affordable alternative to traditional building methods. Both buildings serve as a showcase and a teaching tool for those interested in energy-efficient building systems and represent the university’s commitment to environmental stewardship and to graduating responsible global citizens who care about the environment.

University of Maine at Farmington “Green” Campus Vision Statement

As an educational institution, we have the opportunity to be a leader in promoting the sustainable use of the Earth’s resources. Teaching about sound environmental practices can become an intrinsic part of our campus culture; their benefits can be made apparent to students, faculty, staff, and our surrounding community, all of whom can participate in efforts to enhance environmental sustainability. Environmental issues should be studied broadly in courses across the curriculum. In addition to educating our community, we should demonstrate by our own policies and practices that we are good environmental stewards. Sustainable practices should be an integral part of our campus management and operations — in building and renovating, in reducing pollution and waste, in using appropriate energy resources and materials, and in protecting and incorporating the native environment in our campus spaces. Indoor and outdoor environments should be healthful and aesthetically pleasing. Committing to environmental responsibility means that we will also set goals for ourselves and monitor our progress towards them.

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For more information, please contact UMF Director of Facilities Robert Lawrence at 207-778-7009, or at lawrence@maine.edu.