Sterling College to Build Green Dorms in 2010

Words: Dan Kamys

Craftsbury Common, Vt.-based Sterling College recently set out to design its first new student residency in more than 40 years. The planning started in the classroom with a special-topics course, Green Dorms, taught by Sterling faculty and a Stowe, Vt., architectural planner, and funded by a $65,000 grant.

That course ended this past May with the site work determined and three design schemes created by three teams of students.

Now, with a recent Vermont state grant of $350,000 and the remaining $55,000 Canaday Family Trust grant, in addition to other funds, which include some matching money from a Department of Energy grant, a Sterling community building committee will begin working with the Cushman Design Group of Stowe to complete detailed plans and begin construction in March 2010.

The 100-student college is determined that their completed residency will be environmentally on par with but considerably less expensive than other recent green building efforts at New England colleges and universities.

Environmental consciousness is ingrained at the tiny college in the center of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

“In academics and in community,” says Sterling president Will Wootton, “Sterling puts the “practice” back into “theory and practice. That’s why we started with a class, and I’ll bet somehow we end with one, too.”

Sterling College uses its setting as a natural laboratory offering bachelor of arts degrees in sustainable agriculture, conservation ecology, outdoor education and leadership, and environmental self-designed programs.

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