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Forensics Lab First WVU LEED

Originally constructed in 1917, Oglebay Hall has become West Virginia Univ.'s first building to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Originally constructed in 1917, Oglebay Hall has become West Virginia Univ.'s first building to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system which provides verification that a facility was constructed with energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and other sustainable features.

The historic Oglebay Hall underwent a $23.5 million renovation in 2002 and reopened in 2007 with the top two floors as the new home of WVU's Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program.

Some of Oglebay Hall's impressive new features include water-saving fixtures, a synthetic, slate roof made of recycled rubber, use of natural daylight in more spaces, sustainable heating/cooling units and more.

"The LEED system offers an excellent framework to benchmark our practices with all aspects of building such as design, construction, commissioning and occupancy," said Clement Solomon, director of the WVU Office of Sustainability. "WVU Facilities Management has also been proactive in adopting many of these same sustainable standards and protocols all over campus."

"I think this development means that the university as a whole from the administration to the students has embraced the sustainable concept of living. This is a visible commitment to not only the current University family, but the University family for the future as well," says Eric Rosie, construction project manager.

With Oglebay Hall on the National Register of Historic Places, the construction and design teams proceeded carefully to preserve the historical significance of the facility.

"One of the most difficult challenges was the fact we were trying to make a LEED certified building with a high-tech Forensics occupant fit into a building that was constructed in 1917," Rosie said.

The collaborative effort between the design team, contractors and administration for LEED-certification was successful, and students like undergraduate forensics major Eryn Daugherty benefit from the upgrades.

"I think that Oglebay Hall is one of the nicest buildings the university has to offer, and the fact that it is also a 'green' building should be inspiring to other universities around the country," says Daugherty. "They managed to update a building for one of the fastest growing majors in the country, provide us with all of the technological upgrades that we needed, and still keep it energy efficient."

The forensics program at Oglebay Hall has many high-tech labs and features to provide students with advanced training including an automated fingerprint identification system lab with 25 work stations, which allows students to perform fingerprint comparison; a microscopy lab with several different types of microscopes, which lets students learn how to analyze trace evidence, hairs, fibers and other evidence collected from crime scenes; an instrument lab with several analytical scientific instruments for the analysis of metals, explosives, drugs and toxicological evidence.

The WVU Forensic and Investigative Sciences Program has one of the largest enrollments on campus with declared majors. Only students in their junior year are accepted into the program because of intensive math and science prerequisites during freshmen and sophomore years.

Source: West Virginia University