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GREEN
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Soka University takes the LEED

The school’s new $73 million performing arts center boasts a green design.

By Caitlin AdamsPublished: February 01, 2011

Soka University’s new three-level, 47,836-square-foot, 1,200-seat performing arts center is set to become a main venue in South Orange County for concerts, theater productions, lectures and assemblies, enhancing the Aliso Viejo school’s role as a cultural center and community gathering place.
   
It also boasts a long list of sustainable and energy-efficient amenities, such as operable windows and displacement ventilation, and a “green roof” with a sunshade structure that uses photovoltaic cells and a bioswale that manages storm water runoff.
   
Newport Beach-based McCarthy Building Cos. served as the general contractor for the project, which broke ground in December 2008. The design and construction team are now pursuing Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design – or LEED – Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
   
To ensure that LEED guidelines were followed, McCarthy employed 15 LEED-accredited professionals to assist in the design and construction of the project, in addition to recycling 75 percent of construction waste and maintaining proper indoor air quality, as well as utilizing local labor and insuring that subcontractors installed the specified green materials – procedures that are required by the certification board.
   
“Meeting the project’s LEED Gold Certification goals required rigorous tracking and monitoring as well as developing innovations to some of the project’s challenges,” says Nate Ray, McCarthy’s project manager. “For example, the installation of the reclaimed irrigation water on the green roof proved challenging. Our solution included routing the reclaimed water lines up the exterior of the building in concealed faux downspouts, and working closely with the authorities having jurisdiction to approve this solution.”
   
In addition to the performing arts center, a 48,974-square-foot academic building has been completed on 1.9 acres at the western side of the campus. The new four-level building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal and dance studio, and other support areas.
   
Soka CFO Arch Asawa says the school couldn’t be happier with the buildings: “Soka University will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011, and the opening of the performing arts center and the adjacent academic building will be a big part of that celebration.”



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