August 7, 2020

BWBR Rankin Hall Renovation Earns Carroll University’s Second LEED Certification

Carroll University Rankin Hall Renovation

Carroll University Rankin Hall

A nationally registered historic lab and classroom facility at Carroll University has earned LEED® certification, making it the second campus facility to attain LEED certification in two years.

Rankin Hall’s 26,500-square-foot renovation completed the third and final phase of a BWBR-designed campus capital plan to improve academic spaces focused on science and health programs. Previous phases included Carroll University’s first LEED certified project, Hastad Hall, which also features Waukesha’s first green roof, and Jaharis Science Laboratories.

The renovation includes nine classrooms and labs, 25 faculty offices, three new psychology testing rooms to perform research, and additional open, flexible spaces that inspire a collaborative learning environment.

The project focused on using historically appropriate, environmentally friendly, long-lasting materials and design strategies. Those included clay tile roofing, zinc flashing and downspouts, and a low-VOC historically appropriate paint palette. Energy efficiency and indoor environmental improvements were made with sensitivity to the historic masonry and wood structure. Strategies included spray foam insulation added in the roof joints, LED lighting, and new systems for heating and cooling, in addition to refinishing the wood floors.

Exterior detail of the revitalized historic wood windows.

The original wood windows were removed, restored, and then replaced to maintain the historic character of the building from both the inside and outside. New insulated windows were installed on the outside of the original windows. These windows were thermally broken, with low-e coating and argon fill. To maximize the ability to see the original windows from the exterior of the building, the window frames are as narrow as possible with low iron glass for extra clarity.

Rainwater run-off from Rankin Hall is directed to bioretention ponds built as part of the Jaharis Science Laboratories project. Moving beyond LEED, an added exterior ramp, new elevator, and gender-neutral bathrooms improved the building’s accessibility and inclusivity.

“The ability to reuse and improve existing structures is a key sustainability strategy. The historic nature of Rankin Hall made LEED certification a welcomed challenge,” said Sara Curlee, AIA, LEED AP, senior project architect at BWBR and the project’s LEED project administrator. “Rankin Hall’s design helped to set the tone for the campus aesthetic more than 100 years ago, and it’s gratifying to see the facility continue to reflect that tone while influencing future generations of students in a safe, accessible, and sustainable environment.”

Named for Carroll University’s second president, Rankin Hall, located in a National Historic District, is listed on The National Register of Historic Places and the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places, and is designated as a City of Waukesha Landmark. In 2019, the project received the George Gunn Award for Excellence in Architectural Preservation and Historic Restoration by the City of Waukesha Landmarks Commission.

With 40 LEED accredited professionals currently working at BWBR, the firm is one of the leading advocates for sustainable high-performance design, incorporating green design strategies into complex environments like academic facilities, R&D centers, and hospitals. As part of a global movement to design smarter, BWBR is a signatory to the AIA 2030 Commitment which challenges architects and engineers to make buildings carbon-neutral by 2030.

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