Construction on the new, eco-friendly Westlake Hall is well under way, and while the architecture will echo the original building design, technological capabilities will see a vast improvement.
With six times as much space as the original Westlake building, the new facility will be home to the ETE department and the EHS department, and will boast new educational tools.
“It’s quite a significant change from those who remember the old Westlake,” Vice President of Business Affairs Gary Anna said. “The expansion will have rooms that are state of the art and will be supported with the highest levels of technology.”
From smart boards to flat panel displays, numerous classrooms and a 100-seat auditorium, the new building will provide many resources for students and staff.
The new project is being built with the environment in mind as the building tries to attain a Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) gold certification, the second to highest rating a new building can have in sustainability.
“Rather than wasting excess material during the building process, we find other uses for those materials,” Facilities Department Planning Supervisor Kim Green said. “We log and track how materials are recycled and also keep track of the amount of trash during construction.”
When the building is fully completed, the everyday processes will continue to be eco-friendly.
“Automated control systems will control lighting, heat conservation, cooling, and the conservation of water allowing us to save substantially on energy usage,” Green said.
The end result is to lessen the impact of byproducts on the environment while also easing the financial burdens of energy bills.
Westlake was originally built as the home for the university’s clock-making department, and that tradition remains today with the renovation of the original clock tower.
“From an architectural standpoint, it’s really cool that they are building around the old building,” said freshman elementary education major Stephen Nicholson. “It’s appreciated that they are preserving the old while building the new.”
The clock tower, specifically, is an example of this conservation.
“The clock tower remains a symbol of our history,” said Anna.
To further display the iconic clock tower, a new atrium is being built so that the clock tower can be seen from the inside.
“The atrium will house some very fine student space for lounging, interaction, and studying,” said Anna. “On the third level, you can actually see the Westlake clock tower through the skylights.”
Many students said they are especially pleased with its eco-friendly design and praise the university for their approach to construction.
“Any steps they can do to help the environment is worthwhile,” said junior graphic design major Jordan Carpenter.
Others said they are simply happy with the renovation of outdated building and the creation of a building dedicated to education majors.
“Westlake was in bad condition before,” said junior elementary education major Colleen Ruoppe. “The school is addressing the fact that some facilities are outdated. The swipe cards, Heitz hall renovation and Westlake renovation are a step in the right direction.”