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PSU makes sustainability a priority for new university house

August 15, 2011 12:00AM

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Gary Gorby, right, owner of G & G Wrecking, Caney, and Robert Jonte, Caney, remove salvaged cabinets Tuesday from the former president's house in advance of demolition, which is set for Wednesday.

Pittsburg State University is making sustainability a priority as it moves forward with its plans to construct a new, multi-functional university house. Demolition crews removed the old structure, which had served as the president's residence since 1954, in early June. A special effort was made to reuse or recycle everything possible from the old building.

"We believe strongly in using sustainable practices in all of our projects," said Paul Stewart, director of facilities planning. "In the case of the current president's home, the structure was no longer viable but there were still some items such as light fixtures, doors, cabinets and hardware that could be reused. Rather than place them in a landfill, our crews removed them and gave them to Habitat for Humanity and SEK Recycling's 'New to You' store."

The sustainability effort didn't stop there according to Stewart. G & G Dozer of Caney, who was awarded the demolition contract, also salvaged all usable windows and the garage doors for future use.

"We wanted to reuse every piece that we could," explained Stewart. "This included the masonry and concrete, which was sorted and later converted to rubble for future use. It seems like a small thing, but it achieves our goal to reduce the amount of waste we place in landfills."

The current single story, ranch-style home was demolished to make way for a new multi-functional university house.

"The role of the president's home has changed dramatically since 1954," said Brad Hodson, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the PSU Foundation. "In 2008 alone, we held 27 events and hosted more than 1,000 people in that space. As you can see, this is more than a simple home; it's also an entertainment center for the university and a guest residence for visiting dignitaries."

The new university house will have approximately 6,500 square feet of usable space with nearly two-thirds being used for public functions. The total construction budget for the project is $1.5 million and is being funded entirely through private giving.

"Our donors have been very supportive of this project and have pledged that their donations will not impact their future giving," said Hodson. "This is an important step for Pittsburg State University. It will enhance our ability to raise private funding and help this university remain competitive well into the future."

For more information on the University House

©2011 Pittsburg State University