USD’s Coyote Village Becomes South Dakota’s First LEED Gold Residence Hall

Vermillion, S.D.--Coyote Village, a 550-bed student housing building at the University of South Dakota, has become the first residence hall in the state to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Vermillion, S.D.–Coyote Village, a 550-bed student housing building at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, has earned a major distinction in the sustainable design arena. The property, developed by Ambling University Development Group through a turnkey design-build contract with the state, has become the first residence hall in South Dakota to earn LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

“We were shooting for LEED Silver out of the box, but then we saw where we could achieve LEED Gold,” Jeremy Doss, director of business development with Ambling, tells MHN. With Juneau Construction Co. serving as general contractor, Ambling commenced development of Coyote Village in July 2009 and swiftly completed the project in 13 months. The six-story building features four-bedroom and two-bedroom units, as well as a list of modern amenities that encompasses, among other offerings, a computer lounge, online gaming stations, a surround-sound theatre and a convenience store.

Designed by the architectural firm of Niles Bolton Associates, Coyote Village is a model of energy and water-usage efficiency. The project earned its LEED stripes with a checklist of green procedures ranging from the efficient use of construction materials to the inclusion of recycled and regionally produced materials. Additional green elements include drought-tolerant landscaping and a high-efficiency building envelope with optimized air quality, and the units contain Energy Star appliances and programmable thermostats.

The State of South Dakota, as of two years ago, mandates that all new state-owned properties meet LEED Silver certification, but Ambling took the greening of Coyote Village to a higher level. “When we did testing for performance, we tested how tight the building is, and it greatly exceeded LEED Silver certification requirements,” Doss says. “We think LEED Gold certification is very attainable; you don’t have to come out of the pocket with a lot of money.” Coyote Village’s construction cost was just $114 per heated square foot.

Doss believes that Coyote Village’s newly awarded title of the first LEED Gold-certified residence hall in South Dakota will inspire other student housing developers to go for the gold. “This project just shows it can be done. It’s setting the bar higher for everyone.”