A 100,000-square-foot recreation center with a residence hall surrounding it is under construction at North Central College in Naperville, IL, designed to serve students interested in healthy living with a building that also is easy on the environment.
"We have a lot of students who care about wellness, who jog and work out ... who care about eating well because they care about their bodies," said Kim Sluis, director of residence life for the private four-year liberal arts college in Naperville.
This marks the first new dorm built on campus in nine years, but the college has leased other buildings. College spokesman Theodore Slowik said about half of the school's 2,400 full-time students live on campus.
The residence hall will house 260 students, about two-thirds of them athletes, in rooms arranged in "neighborhoods," each with a common lounge, bathrooms and laundry room.
Sluis said putting two facilities in one building makes the best possible use of the site.
"Land is a precious commodity where we are, and we have a very high demand for on-campus housing," she said.
Slowik said the building is designed to use 17.5 percent less energy than a typical building of its size through such features as energy-efficient lights and windows and a geothermal system to heat and cool it. Each student room has its own thermostat.
He said its adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets will emit far fewer harmful chemicals than typical construction materials.
The building's pre-cast walls are made of 40 percent recycled materials, and at least 20 percent of manufactured products used in its construction will be regionally manufactured to reduce transportation emissions and costs.
All these features have earned the facility a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification through the U.S. Green Building Council, Slowik said.
The center will include covered storage for more than 65 bicycles to encourage students to ditch their cars in favor of a greener ride.
The recreation center will also feature an NCAA-regulation, 200-meter indoor running track, an elevated walking track, four multipurpose athletics courts and a fitness center. The facility will also house an athletic training center that can be used as a classroom laboratory.
"This will help us have a much larger intramural program," said Mike Hudson, director of the college's physical plant. The college competes in 22 intercollegiate sports.