Built Environment & Landscape
Residence Hall/Recreation Center
The Res/Rec Center is the heart of sustainable development on North Central's campus. The one-of-a-kind building is a 265-bed residence hall wrapped around a 100,000-square-foot recreation center. The building meets the needs of students requesting safe and comfortable living options and neighbors expressing a desire to maintain the quality of green space within the neighborhood. The structure is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certified, featuring:
- Energy-efficient windows and lighting
- Individual thermostats
- Geothermal heating and cooling system
- Pre-cast building envelope
- White membrane roof
- Water-efficient fixtures
- Low VOC adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets
- Construction/manufactured materials purchased regionally and made with recycled content
- Covered bicycle storage
The building has preserved precious green space by housing both a residence hall and recreation center and uses 17.5 percent less energy than if built with traditional features.
Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center
The Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center exemplifies social sustainability as it brings the campus and city communities together to socially enhance creativity, promote education and preserve culture. Further, the building houses state-of-the-art lighting and HVAC-automated systems to reduce energy consumption.
The preservation of the historic Grace Evangelical church, renamed Meiley-Swallow Hall, is a sustainable action the College pursued not only as a benefit for expanding curriculum, but also to benefit the aesthetic value of the building and its surrounding historic neighborhood. Additionally, landscaping efforts to increase the tree population of the property has provided the surrounding urban neighborhood with a healthier environment.
Native plantings on the north side of the Res/Rec Center require no supplemental watering, minimal annual maintenance and no need for fertilization or mulching. Once the deep roots establish themselves, ordinary rainfall is sufficient to keep the mix of perennials and grasses in good health. The plantings increase biodiversity by restoring the ecology of the suburban area and providing habitat for songbirds and butterflies.
The campus pond, located at the south end of campus, continues to be a thriving suburban ecosystem providing a natural sanctuary for students, faculty, staff and visitors. The pond is spring fed and features many species of plants native to Illinois wetland habitats. It further functions as a water source for irrigating athletic fields and is a major contributor to the College’s stormwater management project.
The College has developed a system for numbering and identifying the campus tree population. The survey is being used to facilitate ongoing campus tree maintenance and as an educational tool for students, faculty and campus visitors about the benefits of urban ecology. Further, it places worth on each individual tree as to its capacity to sequester carbon and increase property value. This survey continues to promote North Central’s ongoing goal of making the campus an urban arboretum.