OSU students develop a sustainability plan for the construction of a new teaching hall

Students at Oklahoma State University (OSU) developed a plan to identify potential sustainable solutions for the university’s New Frontiers Agriculture Hall, a state-of-the-art OSU teaching, research and extension facility.

As reported News from the town of PoncaFerguson College of Agriculture students Makenna Paniel and McKinly Dortch presented their recommendations to the New Frontiers design and architecture team in a recent capstone course led by Karen Hickman, professor and program director of environmental science undergraduate from OSU.

“Finding a sustainable construction project was of particular interest to me, as there are many types of career paths in sustainability, and it was an opportunity to see how my interests could be used in a real-world project,” says Dortch. “When I heard about the opportunity for us to work on the new building project, I was very excited to be able to contribute to my campus. Also, working on a building from scratch allowed me to think bigger and get creative. »

The duo worked with another capstone class to survey current OSU students regarding their preferences for the design of the new building, and more than 70% of respondents favored sustainable and eco-friendly implementations.

As a result of their research and findings, Paniel and Dortch developed recommendations for six areas to maximize the efficiency and sustainability of the new building, including minimal waste food services, composting, planting of native pollinators, green roofing, rainwater harvesting and construction and demolition debris (C&D) recycling.

Composting efforts

OSU currently composts landscaping waste and pre-consumed food scraps from the Student Union. However, both Paniel and Dortch agreed that there is much greater potential to divert food waste, single-use plastics, paper scraps and even paper towels from landfill. In their development plan, they recommended extending composting in the new building to eliminate brown waste and food waste.

“Having eaten on campus for four years, I’ve seen firsthand how much food is wasted,” Dortch says. “I’m also aware of OSU’s ability to implement a compostable foodservice program that could be run by the agriculture department in the same way as other campuses, and I think this is a perfect opportunity for drive it.”

C&D Scrap Recycling

Students also recommended recycling C&D scrap because of its benefits, such as saving natural resources, eliminating landfill, saving energy, and reducing carbon footprint.

Randy Raper, assistant vice president of facilities for OSU Agriculture, said News from the town of Ponca that this sustainable activity has already been integrated into the construction process of the New Frontiers Agricultural Hall.

“The gravel that was used to cover the many truckloads of fill dumped on site was recycled from the parking lot and from Ag North which was removed to make room for the footprint of the new facility,” says -he. “The construction team will continue to recycle construction and demolition debris as it becomes available.”

Raper says the design and architecture team is grateful for the input from the students and that the group is reviewing the recommendations they provided.

The New Frontiers Agricultural Hall is scheduled to open for the fall semester of 2024.

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