Article - Office of College Advancement
New campus recognized for "green" innovations
By Wes Bowers.
Thursday, February 7, 2008—Reprinted from Fremont Bulletin.
While Ohlone Community College celebrated the first day of instruction at its new $118-million Newark campus Jan. 28, a bigger celebration took place three days later.
State, county and local officials gathered at the school's Newark Center for Technology and Health Sciences last Thursday to recognize the institution's achievement as being the first educational facility built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, platinum level features.
The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
Certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building project meets the highest green building and performance measures.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi said the college "set the bar" when it comes to building structures that meet energy-efficient standards and tackling the global warming issue.
"A lot of people said this couldn't be done. But the community believed, came together, and made this happen," he said. "As we make the transition to energy efficiency, we need trained people for what we're calling Ôgreen collar jobs.' You're training them here."
Examples of curriculum offered at the Newark site include biotechnology, nursing and health sciences, information technology and environmental studies, all courses that are becoming rapidly in demand, according to college officials.
The college reported 3,500 students will be attending classes on the Newark campus.
County officials, including state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, and Assemblyman Albert Torrico, D-Fremont, acknowledged that Ohlone College and the Tri-City area, began collaborating on green buildings before most areas.
"It seems like just yesterday we were campaigning for a bond measure, and the voters have shown they had the confidence in Ohlone and its board to build this center and achieve this," Torrico said.
"You always hear people saying that going green costs too much and that it can't be done. But your community leaders have shown it can be done and it should be done," he added.
Funding for the new campus was secured under the 2002 Measure A bond a campaign spearheaded by several community and civic leaders like former Newark mayor George Silliman, Ohlone College Foundation President Rick Geha, and former Ohlone president Floyd Hogue, among others.
The intention of the measure was to raise $180 million for several projects on the Fremont campus, as well as dedicate $150 million for the completion of the Ohlone's Newark Center for Technology and Health Sciences.
After the measure passed with 56.2 percent of the vote, construction on the campus began in 2006, totaling $58 million in construction costs alone.
Designed by San Francisco-based Perkins+Will, the new 130,000-square-foot center was completed last month by Turner Construction Co. of Morgan Hill.
Ohlone President Douglas Treadway said Turner Construction was the most experienced firm with creating green buildings.
"Everyone made this happen, not only because it's a platinum-certified building, but because it has expanded the community college district," Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele said.
"This is the way of the future. You led the nation, and it's exciting to know you want to be able to build buildings that are certified like this one," she added.
The mayors of Fremont, Newark and Union City were all proud of the collaboration between their cities and the college.
"Fremont is extremely proud to be a part of the Ohlone College community, and a part of the accomplishment here today," Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman said. "This is a marvelous leap into the future and we can only hope that we can keep up as we move into the future."
Newark Mayor Dave Smith said the center was a dream the city has had since 1992, that has finally come true.
"In Newark we have a history of dreaming big dreams," he said. "It was George Silliman that started the Ohlone dream, and until two years ago, it never dawned on me how special and unique this campus would be."
The dedication ceremony was closed with an Ohlone Indian prayer ceremony, led by Ohlone people representative Andrew Galvan.
Galvan led a similar ceremony when the project broke ground in 2006, where he asked that no workers be injured during the construction phase.
William Jangraw, Turner Construction Co. spokesman, said there were no injuries during the construction.
Galvan's ceremony last week also asked that nothing but good fortune come to the new center.