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Kiowa County Signal - Kiowa County, KS
  • Arts Center about to achieve status of first LEED Platinum building in Kansas

  •     Speaking Tuesday to a gathering at the newly finished 5-4-7 Arts Center, University of Kansas Professor and head of Studio 804, Dan Rockhill, and, former student, Jenny Kivett, announced that LEED Platinum certification is assured for the Center. With preliminary certification coming in at Silver, K...
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  •     Speaking Tuesday to a gathering at the newly finished 5-4-7 Arts Center, University of Kansas Professor and head of Studio 804, Dan Rockhill, and, former student, Jenny Kivett, announced that LEED Platinum certification is assured for the Center. With preliminary certification coming in at Silver, Kivett said a few clarifying statements would be added before resubmitting the application which both Rockhill and Kivett agreed would put the final assessment at Platinum.
       Once accepted, the Arts Center would become the first LEED Platinum building in Kansas, the first student designed and constructed LEED Platinum building in history, and the first of what Rockhill hopes will be many sustainable projects in Greensburg.
       Rockhill and Studio 804 have been working on community service projects for over a decade beginning in Lawrence.  Although run as a business, Studio 804 is a not-for-profit organization that satisfies what Rockhill calls his students’ hunger for life experiences. Although most architects “never get dirty,” 804 requires that students work in all aspects of design and construction.
       Over the years, Studio 804 has teamed with Lawrence partners such as Tenants to Homeowners to create innovative, sustainable homes. Currently, Rockhill has turned his attention to Kansas City, KS where 804 helps return depleted  housing  areas  to life. Working from a warehouse in Lawrence, houses are built and moved in pieces to construction sites. There is now a waiting list for Studio 804 homes in Kansas City.
       Just three weeks following last year’s tornado, he and his team began talking about Greensburg. Guided by the City Council’s goal to build back green, Rockhill and his students set about constructing a “sustainable prototype,” an example that would inspire and serve the community of Greensburg.
       On January 3, students began the design phase, by February 4 they were into actual construction, and on March 17, pieces of the Center were loaded onto trucks, in what Rockhill calls the worst rainstorm ever, for the long haul to Greensburg. With hard work, sometimes at night under the lights of parked vehicles, the team completed its project in time for the May 4 anniversary celebration.
       Sustainable features of the Center include an impressive array of items including wood recycled from Sunflower Ammunitions, three wind turbines that will not only fill batteries at the Center, but also feed electricity back into the city’s grid, photovoltaic panels on the roof for solar energy, and three geothermal deep wells that exchange hot or cold temperatures with the earth’s constant 54 degrees. Succulents cover the roof to trap heat in the winter and cool the sun’s rays in the summer, and rainwater will be harvested, filtered, and stored in a 1,500-gallon receptacle buried in the ground.
       Concrete materials, provided by Heft and Sons, create environmentally friendly walkways and the floor which is covered by a coating of epoxy. The green glass “skin” protects recycled wood from ultra-violet rays.
    Page 2 of 2 -    All of these elements and more make up the coveted LEED Platinum certification expected by Rockhill and Studio 804. Sustainability is also a goal for Rockhill’s private company, Rockhill and Associates, that has been responsible for rebuilding many historical sites in Kansas such as the Pony Express station in Hanover and the Block House at Fort Hays.
       Currently on display in the 5-4-7 Arts Center is a pictorial display of the Center from conception to completion. Stacy Barnes, member of the Center’s Board of Directors announced that summer classes will be offered in ceramics for kids and adults and creative drama for children. Memberships for the Center may be obtained by contacting a 5-4-7 board member.
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