LEED-EBOM Gold Recertification: A.E. Stevenson High School

  • August 24, 2016
  • Author: Lisa Adams

When certified in June 2011, A.E. Stevenson High School became the first LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) Gold high school. This certification recognizes the school’s commitment to responsible operations and maintenance processes, and reflects a deeper commitment to engaging the local community of stakeholders in environmental responsibility. CannonDesign provided the visioning, guidance and LEED project administration to ensure their diligent attention to green operations was recognized against a national sustainability benchmark.


Unlike the more familiar LEED rating systems for new construction and commercial interiors, LEED-EBOM buildings must recertify periodically to demonstrate ongoing achievement. Stevenson re-certified Gold after five more years of consultancy.

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“Uniquely UF:” University of Florida’s Reitz Union opens

  • February 19, 2016
  • Author: Lisa Adams

University of Florida’s Reitz Union opens

Photo courtesy of University of Florida

The temporary spaces are no longer. The construction is over. Students, faculty, staff, activities and organization areas are finally welcome in their new homes. Today marks the official first day at the renovated and expanded University of Florida, Reitz Student Union. From the groundbreaking in September 2013 to the opening, the campus certainly has reason to celebrate.

University of Florida’s Reitz Union opens

Photo courtesy of University of Florida

“From day one,” said Roland Lemke, project principal, “we knew the University of Florida wanted a union that was unique to the Gator family. And I think we delivered with a building that honors UF’s brand and how the campus wants to be represented. This building will impress anyone that enters it.”

From a design point-of-view, gator-based features are respectfully seen throughout the building – from wood panels replicating patterns on an alligator’s belly, to the subtle “teeth look” on exterior glass, to colors and textures of a gator’s scales and tail. Visual connections showcased from the atrium’s vertical expanse link the activities housed here, but also allow campus views and set the stage for events still to happen.

“The Reitz Union possesses a fully integrated, LEED platinum design and incorporates the important storytelling of our campus so students will always know they are members of the University of Florida,” Norbert W. Dunkel, associate vice president for student affairs, University of Florida, previously stated. “Importantly, the design had to incorporate the renovated, existing, 50-year-old structure and married it to the incredible expansion. This contemporary design meets the needs of the 21st century students who wish to pursue leadership, service, engagement and discovery.”

University of Florida’s Reitz Union opens

Photo courtesy of University of Florida

Moving forward is often impacted by the past. The J. Wayne Reitz Union was originally built in 1967 when UF’s student body was less than 20,000 students. With numerous additions and renovations over the years, it never created a true living room for the campus community. This 120,000 sf addition and 100,000 sf renovation now provides a place where any student would want to hang out, become involved in student activities and organizations or conduct meetings. The expansion and renovation project now reflects a diverse student population and provides much-needed student spaces.

University of Florida’s Reitz Union opens

Photo courtesy of University of Florida

Encouraging student engagement and creating places for them; from the Center for Leadership and Service, the Department of Student Activities and Involvement, the Office of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, GatorWell Health Promotion Services and student clubs; in a central location can only benefit UF and its students. Additional areas include new study spaces, meeting rooms, lounges, dance rehearsal studios and a ballroom. “Our design lens never lost sight of balancing student life and activities. After all, experiences from these years define who students are long after they graduate. This building is more than bricks-and-mortar; it helps create experiences,” notes Lemke.

And this building’s story is larger than what can be easily seen. Increased energy-efficiency and sustainability were always project drivers. Reduced operational costs and greatly enhancing comfort and functionality were also always at the forefront. New energy-efficient windows and doors, restoration of exterior surfaces and structural components, replacement and upgrades of electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems, and upgrades to interior finishes and lighting were integrated in to the new and existing structure.

“As a UF alumni I am especially proud of this project, and feel personally rewarded working on this campus,” said Brad Lukanic, executive director, education. “The J. Wayne Reitz Union’s legacy is now further reinforced for future student generations to learn and discover in this place – a central campus place, a home for the diverse activities supported within, and the endless opportunities for students and the entire UF community.”

Learn more about the University of Florida’s Reitz Union Project >

Lukanic featured in CP&M’s “A look ahead: campus trends for 2016 and beyond.“

  • February 1, 2016
  • Author: Lisa Adams

Brad LukanicToday’s college and universities are evolving – from physical spaces to defining traditional buildings and their campus roles. Brad Lukanic offers his thoughts on the transformation of mass media and communications programs in College Planning & Management’s January 2016 issue.

Topic: Transformation of mass media and communication programs
Trend: Toward flexible, customizable academic facilities

MontclairHigher education’s learning landscape is evolving at a rapid pace with the global recession’s lingering effects, new learning and curriculum delivery perspectives, and the global interconnectivity and synergistic partnership between industry and education. While many academic programs are advancing and responding in various ways, mass media and communication, in particular, are experiencing an accelerated transformation. Fueling this educational growth is the convergence of enhanced information access, new technology mobility with on-the-go/real-time capture and record, coupled with expanded abilities to develop meaningful information and content, faster and easier.

The need for flexible, customizable facilities – combining and synthesizing cross-platform media and curriculum – tailored to growing and diverse audiences is key. Existing programs are challenged by merging new technologies, while innovative spaces encompass all media platforms so learning is visible, realistic and inviting to students and faculty.

One example is Montclair State University’s School of Communication and Media in New Jersey. All-in-one fusion spaces are designed to strengthen industry partnerships, blend traditional and digital learning, and physically link and engage learning spaces. Multimedia laboratories, a “newsroom of the future,” integrated media labs, screening rooms, sound stage and post-production editing suites facilitate ambitious efforts with top media brands throughout the region with an on-campus news bureau.

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Blending industry developments to improve energy consumption

  • September 23, 2015
  • Author: Lisa Adams

Authors: Robert Garra Jr., PE and Susan Johnson, PE, LEED AP

Held at the University of Maryland this past week, the Big Ten and Friends Mechanical and Energy Conference was a gathering of like-minded professionals talking about enriching operational efficiency of campus and university infrastructure.

This unique compilation of facilities operators, design professionals and equipment vendors offered unique perspectives, as they execute our engineering designs – and make them work. Interfacing with those that influence the campus system’s backbone, and the ones that aren’t often seen or heard from, was energizing. It reminded us there are so many building aspects (people, components, systems, etc.) that influence a university’s operating costs and, therefore, the amount of available capital.

Our building systems approach was reaffirmed within the many exemplars shared during the conference.

Building operations impact the environment, the bottom line and influence our daily activities. Clients today require expertise in addressing complex building system issues to lower their operational budgets and improve efficiency.View our Engineering Expertise >



Exposed structural steel design

  • July 6, 2015
  • Author: Lisa Adams

Express traditional cathedral motifs with exposed structural steel

Ave Maria University’s 1,100-seat Oratory resembles a traditional cathedral, rendered in classic motifs but expressed in a modern palette of glass, steel and stone. The non-orthogonal connections, many with multiple curved members joined at widely varying and acute angles, required a highly integrated engineering and architectural process to facilitate resolution of aesthetic and construction concerns.

Ave Maria University, Ave Maria Oratory Exposed Structural Steel

Ave Maria University, Ave Maria Oratory Exposed Structural Steel

Ave Maria University, Ave Maria Oratory

Ave Maria University, Ave Maria Oratory

Steel buttresses are expressed from the interior to the exterior as free-standing exposed steel frames penetrate the outer skin, hinting at the lattice steel bents which form the basis of the overall structure. In this building, the structure is the architecture and is the most prominent foreground element. The latticed steel bents take structural steel and infuse it with the delicacy of gothic tracery, intertwining the members to form the great steel frames from which the building form arises. Key intersections of steel members are back-lit with punched openings to the exterior, thus the steel connection becomes a diffuser of natural light bounced across the interior spaces.


The project won the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), IDEAS2, Merit Award in 2008.

Publication: Faith and Form, 2010

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