New Maryland University Community Built to be Sustainable

A new student housing facility has opened at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. The community, called Oakland Hall, is the first new residence hall on the campus since 1982.

By Jessica Fiur, News Editor

College Park, Md.—A new student housing facility has opened at the University of Maryland’s College Park campus. The community, called Oakland Hall, is the first new residence hall in the Denton Quad in the North Campus since 1982.

Oakland Hall, designed and built by WDG Architecture and Clark Design-Build, includes 143 double duplex suites and 39 suites, as well as single-bed units for resident assistants. The community was designed in a “Z” shape, allowing for 90 students per floor and creating smaller pockets of 30 students. In total, the community accommodates 709 students.

The community was built to be environmentally sustainable. Oakland Hall has earned LEED-Gold certification. The community also includes a Satellite Central Utility Building in the basement, which provides an energy-efficient chilled-water system. Cooling towers are located on the roof, and are hidden by tall screen walls. Additionally, the lobby features an interactive touch-screen LEED wall, which educates residents and visitors on the buildings sustainable features and water usage. The different floors in Oakland Hall are encouraged to compete for the lowest water and energy consumption.

Other sustainable features include cisterns for capturing storm water, a white reflective roof, low-flow plumbing, efficient lighting and recycling stations on every floor.

“Sustainability was an important goal in the design and construction of Oakland Hall. We wanted the design of the building to be as efficient and sustainable as possible, and the university also saw the opportunity to promote sustainable living in an active, instructive way,” Bob Keane, AIA, principal, WDG Architecture, tells MHN. “We installed an interactive touch screen LEED wall in the lobby that features details on energy and water usage in the building. The display enables the residents to compete on a floor-by-floor basis. It’s a constant reminder about sustainable, eco-friendly living.”

Providing a setting for academic excellence for students was also important when designing the community, as displayed through the amenities, which include a two-story lobby with a grand staircase, a 300-student multipurpose room and seminar spaces.

“The University of Maryland had not constructed any new residences on this campus since 1982, so the development of Oakland Hall represented an important opportunity to enhance the sense of community on campus while also creating a nurturing environment for academics and student success,” Keane says. “These goals were clearly outlined in the university’s strategic plan for undergraduate education. Oakland Hall’s living-learning spaces were designed to serve the residents of the building as well as students from throughout the university. The university had clear objectives and they developed a very detailed program for the building, which included a number of classroom, seminar, multi-use and lounge spaces.”

Photography by ©Alan Karchmer

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