Plans for building to house IGC well underway

By Amy Lieberman

Macalester is slated to break ground in May on the unnamed building that will hold the Institute for Global Citizenship, Civic Engagement Center and International Center, according to David Wheaton, vice president for administration and finance. The building will stand in Winton Health Service’s present location.Wheaton said that he and a team of administrators and professors recently decided to push back the construction date to May, straying from the school’s previous plan of breaking ground sometime in the middle of next semester. A lack of finances and the inconvenience of uprooting Winton during the school year contributed to the decision to stall construction.

Macalester is aiming to raise $7 million to $7.5 million to finance the building, of which $4.6 million has already been secured, said Tommy Bonner, vice president for advancement. Bonner also said that Macalester alumna and Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Ruth Stricker Dayton contributed a hefty $3 million to Macalester’s current sum, an amount that will probably lead to the naming of the building after Dayton.

Macalester will now need to raise at least $1 million by May, Bonner wrote in an email.

“The remaining amount of $2 million will need to be raised over the following year as construction is underway,” he said.
The construction will most likely take 10 months, Wheaton said, and the building should open in May 2009.

The college is hoping to appeal to more
potential contributors over the next few months through a final, presentable design of both the building’s exterior and the interior, for which, Bonner said, “floor plans have already been set.”

Wheaton said he hopes to present a formal, complete design plan by early next year. In the plan Bonner shared with The Mac Weekly, white and red stone exteriors were being considered as possibilities.

The building will have three stories, he said, and a covered walkway that connects to Kagin Hall. It will be located on the western edge of Winton’s site, and will be surrounded by the trees and grass that currently stand near Winton. Bonner referred to this design as “Phase I,” meaning that if in 10 years Macalester wishes to extend the building, theere will be room on the plot of land to build additions.

In the renderings of the building’s interior, the first floor entrance opens up into a lobby, referred to as the “IGC Court.” This lobby, Bonner said, is designated as the “heart of the building” and extends to the second floor. The building then narrows off into a cone-like structure, which is designed to allow natural light into the building.

The Institute for Global Citizenship, Civic Engagement Center and the International Center offices will be dispersed throughout the building’s three floors. At the forefront of the discussion, in which President Brian Rosenberg, Bonner, Provost Diane Michelfelder and leadership members of the IGC, CEC and International Center have all participated, is the desire for the building to hold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum status. LEED promotes a high standard for creating sustainable green buildings, and the certification of Platinum marks its greatest level of green, sustainable buildings.

While the building will not be powered by solar energy, Wheaton said the school will “want to try to make the building use heat, cooling and energy at much lower levels.” Heavily insulated walls will contribute to the building’s efficient use of energy.

Other elements, like importing local materials and placing a shower in the building-which, in theory, could encourage people to bike to school-will also act in favor of the building’s Platinum eligibility.

“We put the idea [of creating an environmentally sustainable building] at the start of the discussion,” Wheaton said.
“It’s a natural building to start effort for that.

“It’s called global warming for a reason. It’s global.”

Macalester is now working with a New England architectural firm, Bruner/Cott, which has experience in designing environmentally friendly buildings. If Macalester’s building is awarded LEED Platinum status, Wheaton said, it would be the first in Minnesota to achieve the certification.

Macalester’s revised construction deadline has also taken some pressure off Winton employees and on-campus residents. Winton had planned to move to 30 Mac when construction went underway, forcing out 30 Mac residents. Director of Campus Life Keith Edwards said that when students moved to 30 Mac this semester, he told them that they would have to switch dorms second semester.

Now, he said, the students “can just hang tight and stay where they are.