Antioch College Continues Campus Revitalization

Antioch College continues with its plans to renovate and improve its campus in Yellow Springs. The college plans to build a central geothermal plant that will significantly reduce power usage on campus.

Antioch College continues with its plans to renovate and improve its campus in Yellow Springs. The college plans to build a central geothermal plant that will significantly reduce power usage on campus.

The geothermal plant will cost Antioch $8.8 million. It will be constructed in phases, with Phase I at a cost of $4.7 million. The plant will use the constant temperature of the earth just below the surface to provide the energy for heating and cooling. It circulates water through a closed loop system of piping located in a well field. During the summer, the water is circulated to the buildings, where it absorbs heat. The heated water is then circulated to the well field and loses the heath to the  earth. Finally, the chilled water is circulated back to large chillers in the central plant building and then to the buildings on the campus, cooling them down. The process is reversed in winter, with the chillers acting as heat pumps.

Antioch started work on Nov. 1 on 150 geothermal wells. When the project is complete, it will turn the college into the only school in the United States to be heated and cooled exclusively by geothermal and photovoltaic power. The drilling portion of this phase is expected to last  two months.

“Antioch is committed to conserving and protecting natural resources and reducing its carbon footprint to the greatest degree possible,” Thomas Brookey, Antioch College’s COO, said in a statement for the press. “We estimate that the central geothermal plant and a large solar array will cut campus energy costs by approximately $400,000 annually once the campus is fully developed.”

North Hall, one of Antioch College’s three original buildings, also includes such a geothermal system. The dormitory was constructed in 1853 and underwent a $5.7 million, state-of-the-art renovation project last year. North Hall is now the second-oldest building in the world to achieve LEED certification at any level in the new construction and major renovations category, and the second oldest to achieve LEED Gold certification in that category.

Antioch College also announced it will demolish two buildings on campus, the Student Union building and Mills Hall. The college’s board of trustees has approved the demolition after recommendations from the college’s architectural firm, MacLachlan, Cornelius & Filoni Inc. Antioch has been working with the architectural firm on a campus master plan for over a year.

Mills Hall was built in 1959. The residential building deteriorated over the years and is now riddled with asbestos. Its demolition will start in early November, after the asbestos is removed. The student union was constructed in 1957. Antioch College determined that the cost to renovate it would be too high. No date has yet been set for its demolition.

Photo credits: Antioch College