From the first day the Center for the Environment facility opened in 2001, it became a model of sustainability for the state. Bill Holman, then secretary of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, called it “the wave of the future in resource and energy efficiency.”
The facility that houses the Center for the Environment at Catawba College was one of the first “green” buildings constructed in the state. The Center wanted to lead by example, encouraging others to use environmentally friendly products and practices in the construction of new facilities.
This structure reflects the spirit of the college’s Environmental Program. The planning process, which was initiated long before construction began in November 1999, engaged everyone from the donors and president of the college to the faculty, staff and students. The 21,000-square-foot building has emerged as a three-dimensional incarnation of the Center’s sustainable curriculum — an exciting teaching tool as well as an environmentally friendly sound project.
Located on the edge of the college’s 189-acre preserve, it merges seamlessly with the natural environment. Everything about the facility — from the site design to the environmentally friendly building materials, from energy and water conservation issues to recycling and waste management — is grounded in principles of sustainability. For example, Catawba students implemented the waste reduction plan, recycling more that 86 percent of the construction waste. This facility represents now and to future generations Catawba College’s commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of the earth’s resources.