Story by Rachael Maddux / Photos by James K. Holder II
Unwitting pedestrians strolling the Tech campus over the summer may have wondered if the school was considering changing its mascot from the Yellow Jacket to the Orange Barrel. But just as students began trickling back into dorms and classrooms, the neon construction partitions faded away and the projects they’d been blocking off for so many months were finally allowed to shine.
“These changes touch all aspects of the Strategic Plan and the Institute’s deep commitment to creating a sustainable campus that is a living-learning laboratory,” said Howard Wertheimer, director of capital planning and space management. “The center of campus is now served by a new transit hub, impervious asphalt parking lots have been replaced with green space and the tree canopy continues to expand, reducing heat-island effect while creating a more beautiful campus environment.”
In late August, the G. Wayne Clough Undergraduate Learning Commons opened its doors, with its namesake, Tech alum and former President G. Wayne Clough, present for the building’s dedication. Its sustainability-focused design and student-centered resources immediately established it as a crown jewel of campus, and it hosted both President G. P. “Bud” Peterson’s annual address and countless study groups in its first few weeks.
Nearby, a new 1.4 million-gallon cistern installed under Tech Green will collect rainwater runoff and reduce Clough Commons’ dependency on water from the City of Atlanta. And under the brand-new John and Mary Brock Football Practice Facility, a 280,000-gallon cistern harvests runoff to irrigate the Rose Bowl Field, the Russ Chandler Stadium and the track.
Meanwhile, the North Avenue Dining Hall has replaced the row of retail shops housed on the bottom level of the North Avenue dorms acquired by Tech in 2007. The dining hall’s ebbing rainbow lights lure in hungry students 24 hours a day. (Both Clough Commons and North Avenue are aiming for LEED certification in the coming months.)
The South side of campus is still in progress as Tech, in partnership with Coca-Cola, continue the widening and greening of the sidewalks along North Avenue. All this while the nation’s economy continues to slump—but rather than putting a damper on construction, that has actually allowed Tech to expand its plans.
“When we built Clough Commons, we were very fortunate to hit the marketplace at the right time,” Wertheimer said. “As a result, we were able to get tremendous value for our dollar and were able to include Tech Green, which helps define the center of campus.”
It doesn’t stop here, of course. Among many other projects, next up is the transformation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum into McCamish Pavilion, plus work on the new Ken Byers Tennis Complex. But before we welcome another round of orange barrels onto campus, the Alumni Magazine wants to properly introduce you to Tech’s newest additions.
To view a slideshow of the newest additions to Tech campus, click here.
Campus changes by the numbers:
- 220,000 Clough Commons’ size, in square feet
- 2,100 Seats in Clough Commons’ 41 classrooms
- 700 Chairs of different size, shapes and colors throughout Clough’s common areas
- 1,400,000 Capacity, in gallons, of the cistern below Tech Green, just beyond Clough Commons
- 360 Suniva solar panels and 30 AET solar hot water collectors installed on Clough Commons’ roof
- 3 Companies (Apple, Google and IBM) whose board rooms inspired presentation rooms in Clough
- 21 Rooms throughout Clough available for instant reservation for study groups
- 1 Green screen available for special projects
- 89 Percent of water reused throughout Clough Commons
- 18,000 Square footage of Clough’s rooftop gardens
- 39 Species of water-efficient and native plants growing around Clough Commons, including its rooftop green space
- 280,000 Capacity, in gallons, of the cistern below the Brock Practice Facility, which will provide water for the building and surrounding athletic fields
- 590 Tons of steel used in constructing nearly-football-field-sized building
- 20,000 Size of the new North Avenue Dining Hall in square feet
- 325 Guests that can sit and eat at the North Avenue Dining Hall at one time
- 9 Food stations at North Avenue, serving pizza, pho and more