Under Construction: Bechtel Environmental Classroom

The Bechtel Environmental Classroom is an ecological learning center for a range of disciplines at Smith College. The proposed 2,300 square foot classroom building is being planned and designed under the rules of the Living Building Challenge, a green building standard more stringent than LEED. The classroom allows various academic disciplines at Smith College to conduct research, classes and outdoor activities on the 240 acre Archibald McLeish Field Station, a conservation and environmental research property owned by the college for a number of decades. Dodson & Flinker collaborated with the architects on the siting of the building, designed the landscape and handled environmental permitting and mitigation.   Unique features of the project include the separation of parking from the building, complete on-site recycling of water, composting toilets, zero net energy consumption and use of local building materials. Electric carts and snowmobiles will provide access to the building from the parking which is located several hundred yards from the classroom building. A handicapped accessible path and boardwalk provides access to the building. Construction is expected to be complete by the end of the summer 2012.