Department of Student Programs
231 Plemmons Student Union
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608
Department of Student Programs - A Division of Student Development
New Student Union Addition Reflects Values of Togetherness and Sustainability
Freshman Christina Fasanello has a passion for extra-curricular activities and cares about the environment. When she entered the new addition to Plemmons Student Union, she realized how easy Appalachian State University makes it to “preserve our natural resources and be an active member of the Appalachian family,” she said.
“With all of the new meeting places, the new addition gives students the opportunity to collaborate and work together to plan events and start new organizations on campus,” the anthropology major said.
Fasanello added, “I love the fact that the water filling stations have a sensor that tells you how many plastic bottles are being saved. It makes me feel like I am making a difference even if it is just filling up a water bottle.”
The latest LEED® building
Togetherness and sustainability are important values at Appalachian, and “our values are reflected in what we build,” Vice Chancellor for Student Development Cindy Wallace said at a recent dedication ceremony for Plemmons Student Union’s new addition.
The goal for the building, which opened in January, was to create a space in which students could enhance their relationships and learning experiences and where all felt welcomed and accepted, explained Dave Robertson, director of student programs.
“The root word of community is unity, and the student union strives to represent all that is good and wonderful about Appalachian as a dynamic community of scholars and learners engaged in civic discourse, student leadership development and action for a better world,” Robertson said.
Baulfour Beatty Donates left over Building Materials to Boone Habitat for Humanity Restore.
Balfour Beatty Construction, headquartered in Dallas with offices in Charlotte and throughout the U.S., recently completed the $56 million dollar Center for Student Leadership project at Appalachian comprised of five University buildings, all paid for from Housing and Student Union fees. Balfour Beatty and ASU are both focused on sustainability and BBC made a significant donation of left over building materials to the Boone Habitat for Humanity Restore. Pictured from left to right are Jess McNeill and Ricky Ward of the Habitat Restore, Sarah Dossantos, Jeff Ward, Tim Ferris and Phillip Baxter of Balfour Beatty Construction, and Dave Robertson, Director of Student Programs and the Student Union at ASU. BBC is a large international construction company which also built last summer's Olympic Village in London, among many other noteworthy projects world wide.
Scheduling for new PSU Addition Meeting Rooms
Scheduling for the 12 new meeting rooms in the Plemmons Student Union addition
will begin on December 12th, for any event occurring on or after February 4th.
Reservations for this space, along with any existing space in the PSU, can be
reserved online for events through the Spring 2013 semester. The Scheduling
Window for summer and 2013-2014 academic year will begin in mid-February.
**Due to A/V installation and trouble-shooting, please be patient with reserved
space in the first few weeks of operation.**
Click here to view all rooms, capacities, set-up options, etc. For your
convenience, new rooms are highlighted. Call 262-3032 to speak with someone in
From Home Away from Home to Campus Community Builder, Student Union Serves Diverse Student Needs, by Jane Nicholson
Dave Robertson has overseen every transformation of Plemmons Student Union since the first addition and renovation was completed in 1995. Now he awaits the January 2013 opening of a 58,000-square-foot addition that will become a one-stop location for many of the university’s programs and offices that support Appalachian’s focus on international education, student leadership development, community service and student research, among others.
The addition is funded solely by student fees and is seeking LEED Gold status as one of the most sustainable and energy efficient buildings at ASU.
Robertson, director of student programs, first proposed the addition in 2005. “When I first proposed it, it occurred to me that Appalachian offers wonderful programs and services that are value-added educational experiences, such as involvement in community service, participation in alternative spring break, going on a study abroad experience, or taking a leadership series,” he said.
While the programs have been in place for some time, they were scattered across campus. Robertson envisioned having these vital out-of-class educational experiences in one location to serve a great number of students.
“By relocating the Office of Student Research, the Office of International Education and Development, the Office of the Dean of Students, along with the Office of Student Conduct, Family and Parent Services and Office of Off-Campus Community Relations into more highly visible space, a greater portion of our student body will likely avail themselves of the opportunities these and other areas offer,” Robertson said.
Also moving to the student union addition will be the Appalachian and the Community Together (ACT) Outreach Center, Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) and Multicultural Student Development (MSD).
The vacated space in the existing building will be remodeled to provide office space for The Peel, the student literary magazine; expanded space for the LGBT Center; offices for the Pan-Hellenic, Interfraternity and National Pan-Hellenic councils, BSA and IntAPP; and a student organization leadership center with a sign shop, copier and fax machine service for student organizations, mailboxes for student clubs, computer work areas and an information desk. Those spaces are slated for renovation next summer to avoid disruptions during spring semester.
“We really pride ourselves in offering a real diversity of opportunities,” Robertson said. “ A student union ought to be a place where every student – gay or straight, black, brown or white, religious or atheist – all feel like there are things here for them that they can come here and be welcomed, be accepted, be embraced as part of the Appalachian Family.”
The additions also will double the meeting space available to students and campus organizations.
The theme of naming rooms for area geographic features will continue in the new addition. Parkway Ballroom will overlook Sanford Mall and accommodate as many as 400 depending on the room configuration and provide banquet space for as many as 208.
Other rooms will be the Bass Lake Room, Trout Lake Room, Linville Gorge Room, Pisgah Commons and Linville Caverns Room.
“In the old days, our professional association ACUI used to say we wanted College Unions to be the living room of the campus,” Robertson said. “Today we provide that home away from home atmosphere while also focusing on being one of the primary community builders for the campus. That is the mission and heritage of great Student Unions from the first ones at Cambridge and Oxford in the Thirteen Hundreds through today and beyond in the 21st Century.”
PSU Addition working timeline
January 14-31 "Soft opening" of new Space
Full student and patron access to all departments through existing building
Continued A/V work in meeting rooms, and continued furntirue installation.
February 4 Fully open, exterior doors, and new
Meeting rooms are available on a limited basis, dependent on A/V installation progress. Full access to meeting rooms to begin March 1, 2012.
PSU--New Addition Features that Should Result in a LEED Gold Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council www.usgbc.org
- Natural daylight harvesting throughout the facility
- Highly efficient and dimmable LED lighting (about 60% more efficient than fluorescent lighting)
- Second through fourth floor commons side hallway flooring made from recycled tires
- All wood in the building harvested from certified sustainable forests
- Innovative Dyson Airblade hand dryers in all restrooms (fastest, most energy efficient and most sanitary on the market)
- High efficiency heating and cooling systems (at least 30% more efficient than ASHRAE standards)
- Concrete structure is a natural product from sand, gravel and Portland cement having a much smaller carbon footprint than a comparable steel structure.
- Many wall surfaces will be unpainted concrete, reducing building materials
- LEED points for bike racks and showers in existing fitness center to encourage bike transportation as well as points for being in close proximity to a commuter bus stop.
- A LEED Innovation point should be awarded for installing Events2HVAC program that interfaces between our Event Management Reservations System and the computerized building HVAC system. This program will shut down the HVAC system in meeting and conference rooms when those rooms are not in use, and will power the system up as needed 30 minutes before a reserved event begins. This system should save about 50% on heating and cooling costs annually, and substantially reduce the carbon footprint of the facility.
- The new addition will not have a mechanical water heating system, relying solely on the existing system from the current building. The current solar and steam systems have excess capacity that will be captured for use in the new building.
- The water bottle filling stations on each floor will have counters showing how many plastic bottles have been saved from the landfill as a result of building patrons using refillable bottles.
- All furnishings will be certified green and will be made in plants where the focus is on green and sustainable products and manufacturing methods.
- Outdoor retaining walls are made from locally sourced granite
- Carpet in the Parkway Ballroom (the signature large scale meeting room on campus) will be 100% wool, a totally renewable resource. All other carpet made from recycled plastic bottles.
- All offices have operable windows, putting natural heating and cooling at the fingertips of each office occupant
- All lighting has both motion and light sensors to allow optimum efficiency by ensuring the artificial lights will only operate when the natural light levels are inadequate and when a space is actually occupied.
- All windows are extremely efficient, with argon gas between two panes of low-E glass for greater retention of heating and cooling.
- No unnecessary building materials used (e.g., acoustical drop ceilings are only used in limited locations where overhead pipes, ducts, wiring, etc. need to be hidden for aesthetic reasons).
- All paints and adhesives used release zero Volatile Organic Compounds into the air
- Additional Sustainability initiatives being taken in existing Student Union
Access to the Student Union’s east side from Locust Street is blocked by the construction of the new addition to the PSU, the Center for Student Excellence, which is scheduled to open during the 2012-13 school year.
Individuals accessing the building from the Sanford or Cone/White Hall area of campus must proceed to the Sanford Mall and then up steps by Dr. Plemmons statue to enter into the Solarium Lobby or Cascades Café entrances.
Construction on the east side of the Student Union also includes a new Living Learning Center comprised of a new 10 story residence hall and the new Honors Classroom building.
Lucy Brock Child Development Center has moved to a new location between Belk Library and Chapel Wilson Hall.
The Center for Student Excellence addition to the Student Union will encompass 52,500 square feet of additional meeting, gathering and office space on four floors. The new addition will be built to LEED Gold standards www.usgbc.org The CSE part of the project will cost 20 million dollars, and is totally student fee funded, and will not receive any state tax or tuition dollars. The facility will house six university departments devoted to student growth and development and offering value added learning experiences for students. They include the ACT offices and ACT Community Outreach Center, the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, Multi-Cultural Student Development, International Education and Development, Office of Student Research, Dean of Students, Family and Parent Programs and the Office of Student Conduct. The facility will also include large open common areas for study and student interaction on each floor, and 11 meeting and conference rooms, including a large multi-purpose ballroom on the fourth floor overlooking campus.
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