New Clinical Skills Lab receives LEED Gold certification

By Dustin Stephany

The UF College of Veterinary Medicine’s Clinical Skills Laboratory recently earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Gold certification for its exceptional, environmentally sensitive construction.

Administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is an internationally recognized, third-party certification program that rates the sustainability of buildings based on categories such as indoor environmental air quality, design innovation and energy efficiency. Gold is the second highest possible level of certification for new construction/major renovation projects.

The facility’s LEED Gold sustainability plaque, made from recycled glass, was unveiled during a formal recognition ceremony on April 20.

The $4.8 million three-story vertical facility expansion addition includes an immersive teaching laboratory, infectious diseases/pathology research laboratory and a mechanical penthouse. Integrated sustainability concepts include: reduced energy consumption through energy-efficient lighting and mechanical systems, sourcing of regional and low-impact construction materials with recycled content, and providing outdoor views to over 90 percent of the office/clinic spaces.

Completed in August 2015, the unique lab facility is equipped with advanced simulation technologies used to teach veterinary students and faculty best practices for techniques such as tying sutures, inserting IV catheters, drawing blood samples and identifying parasites.

“Our new LEED gold Clinical Skills building addition artfully balances form and function,” said UF College of Veterinary Medicine Director John Haven. “The facility provides a high-quality research space worthy of UF’s first National Academy of Sciences member Dr. Roy Curtiss, and an extraordinary teaching and simulation lab, which has already been visited by several colleges as a model for teaching students veterinary skills prior to interaction with live animals.

The expansion was completed on time, on budget, and with long-term operations in mind.

“Strategic decisions like designing a rooftop mechanical penthouse maximized usable space with significant daylight views, which is greatly appreciated by the building occupants. Furthermore, integrating energy-efficiency concepts has reduced the university’s overall maintenance costs,” Haven said.

Over 60 UF facility construction projects have received LEED accreditation since the university began its green building initiative in 2003. On average, LEED-certified buildings produce 34 percent lower carbon dioxide emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and use 11 percent less water than standard buildings, according to a 2011 study by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“Buildings like the UF Clinical Skills Lab have a tremendous impact on both our local community and our global environment. We create excellent spaces that measurably mitigate climate change through forward-thinking campus planning, design, construction and maintenance,” said UF Planning, Design and Construction Sustainable Building Coordinator Dustin Stephany.

“Our team continually seeks innovative ways to balance affordability, sustainability and long-term facility performance. By taking a collaborative approach that champions the needs, health and experience of our campus user groups, we strive to build a more sustainable Gator Nation for generations to come.”

The new facility was designed and constructed by locally based firms, including: Oelrich Construction, Walker Architects, Affiliated Engineers and Structural Engineers Group.

Conceived as part of UF’s Preeminence program, the three-story Clinical Skills Laboratory addition reflects the university’s commitment to pioneering the next generation of veterinary medicine education, research and clinical treatment.


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