Building of green spaces continues

The University’s effort to increase green space on campus is progressing with construction continuing on two major green spaces, the Square 54 green roof and the Square 80 green space.

Square 54 will include more than 26,000 feet of green roof structures, including 18,000 square feet on the roof of the below-grade parking and loading structure that will function as a courtyard. Pedestrians will be able to access the courtyard via several entry points, including a 60-foot-wide opening between the office and residential buildings along 23rd Street.

The green space at Square 54 will be opened by the middle of 2011, when the building components open.

In addition to the green roof, the building will include several features to enhance its sustainability.

“Boston Properties is looking at a number of methods to better the indoor air quality for building occupants as well as the inclusion of motion-sensor lighting and connecting tenant’s lighting/HVAC circuits so they automatically shut off during non-building hours,” John Ralls, special adviser for communications and outreach in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, said in an e-mail.

In the parking garage, there will be 40 bicycle parking spaces for the office component and 30 bicycle parking spaces for the residential component.

Construction on the Square 80 green space – located behind Guthridge Hall and alongside South Hall – is expected to be completed in April or May of this year. The 32,010-square-foot area, which previously served as a parking lot, will feature more than 20 trees, small landscaped areas and an activity lawn, and will be open to members of the University and Foggy Bottom communities.

The park is being built to contain and reuse storm water through the use of three cisterns to collect water and channels to direct it into tree boxes. The second cistern arrived at the construction site and was set in place this week. The hole for the third cistern will be excavated and the cistern will arrive in the next week. Excavation of the park’s connection to F Street will also be completed next week.

The construction of the Square 80 green space has encroached on the sidewalk leading to the back entrance of South Hall, though, creating unwanted noise for some residents and a muddy pathway to the residence hall.

South Hall resident Mallory Ward said because she lives facing F Street, the noise does not really bother her, but she added it is unfortunate that the back entrance has been somewhat closed up and muddy.

“We don’t really have a lot of green space around here. If University Yard is the only place that we have that’s green, then why not? We’re only here for another three months. I’m not complaining,” Ward said.

Michelle Polanco, also a South Hall resident, said the construction makes travel in and out of the building a pain.

“I think being in a city it’s a given that you’re not going to get as much green space obviously as in a rural area, but if New York can manage to have Central Park, D.C. can manage to come up with some good green spaces,” she added.

The construction of campus green space is part of the 2007 Foggy Bottom Campus Plan, which includes several other components to improve already open space such as University Yard, Eye Street Mall and Kogan Plaza. The plan seeks to create a more pedestrian-friendly environment and encourage diversity of space use as part of the larger sustainability goal.

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