COEHS has a new home in LEED Silver certified building

Spinnaker

UNF held an open house in the new College of Education and Human Services June 24. The facility contains about 100,000 square feet in its three floors. It houses the college’s administrative facilities as well as two conference rooms and 13 classrooms, according to a press release.

As technology now plays a key role in an educator’s success, the architects and designers of the COEHS combined functionality and the latest technology to serve those needs. There are two rooms in particular which showcase the building’s technological capabilities: the model technology room and the sign language lab, said the Director of Educational Field Experiences, Cathy O’Farrell.

The model technology room teaches students how to effectively incorporate technology in the classroom, O’Farrell said. All the classrooms have computers, and in some rooms, students’ monitors can recede into their desks when not in use, according to interior designer Jill Butterworth. She added that the furniture was not transplanted from other buildings but was all new. Another feature of the college — the model classroom — is meant to look like a real elementary or middle school classroom, with sinks and easily reconfigurable furniture, O’Farrell said.

Under UNF’s promise to only build “green” infrastructures, the COEHS building is certified LEED Silver, said Mike Houseman, the project director. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rates a building’s sustainability and impact on the environment on a 100-point scale. A building certified Silver received 50-59 points, with 100 being the highest score. With this in mind, the building is designed to use daylight as a major means for lighting, Houseman said. Architects took advantage of the lake in front of the building and mirrored its curves in both the building’s architecture and its heavily windowed façade.

Attendees at the event were students, faculty, alumni and among others, the superintendent of Duval County School Board. Speakers at the open house included President John Delaney and Dean of the College of Education and Human Services, Dr. Larry Daniel.

Delaney spoke of the new building and the opportunities it has created for many students. “I think we’ll have a major breakthrough in our graduates’ abilities to teach students how to learn,” Delaney said.

The final speaker, senior and special education major Elizabeth Sabedra, struck a special chord within the crowd, as she concluded that the education department and its students now have a home.