Chatham University

Sustainability & the Environment

“A splendid vision” at Eden Hall Campus

Chatham announces plan to build the nation's first sustainable campus

Click here to view the Eden Hall Campus Master Plan.

Chatham University launched a highly innovative, multi-year Master Plan today to develop Eden Hall Campus in Richland Township, PA, the first university campus in the nation to integrate sustainable development, living and learning.

Eden Hall Campus will be home to Chatham’s pioneering new Falk School of Sustainability & Environment – the second freestanding university school of sustainability in the United States. Located on a 388-acre site north of the University's historic Shadyside Campus, the new campus will feature innovative climate positive buildings and landscape design; sustainability education and research will be incorporated into all facets of campus life. The Master Plan was developed Berkebile Nelson Immenschuh McDowell (BNIM) of Kansas City, Mo. and landscape design firm Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia.

"Eden Hall Campus and the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment are at the leading edge of a global movement toward a sustainable future," says Esther Barazzone, Ph.D., Chatham University president. "Together, the school and the campus will be a one-of-a-kind living laboratory, advancing understanding and progress as we seek sustainable answers to the world's social, economic and environmental concerns."

A Groundbreaking Model of Sustainability with Potential for Global Impact
When the Eden Hall Foundation presented the gift of Eden Hall Farm to Chatham in 2008, University leaders seized the rare opportunity to build an entire campus from the ground up–the first of the 21st century.

"As we studied this exceptional location, we began to see its transformative potential as the site of the nation's first comprehensive center for sustainability education," explains Dr. Barazzone. "Sustainability is an area of growing global significance while still in its formative stages as a field of university study."

With support from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and The PNC Foundation, an internationally-recognized team was formed to lead development of both the Eden Hall Campus Master Plan and the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment.

"Eden Hall Campus is a game–changer," says Robert Berkebile, a principal at BNIM and leader of the planning process, as well as a driving force behind the growing focus on sustainable building and one of the originators of the U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED™ rating system. "It has perhaps the greatest potential of any development to date to advance our understanding of how to live sustainably not only on a college campus, but in communities around the world."

Recently, BNIM received the 2011 Architecture Firm Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) because of its environmentally-friendly business practices. BNIM and Andropogon Associates studied and assessed the Eden Hall Campus property then created a Master Plan that pushes sustainability education and sustainable living to new levels.

"The Master Plan is about changing the rules and showing the world what's possible," explains José Almiñana, principal with Andropogon. "It is unique because its goals are climate positive; as we work to restore the land and develop the campus, we will go beyond simply minimizing environmental impact–beyond LEED Platinum™. We will actually improve streams, air quality and natural habitats. This is the next generation of sustainable living."

The architects collaborated with University trustees and administrators, including David Hassenzahl, Ph.D., the founding dean of Chatham’s new Falk School of Sustainability & Environment and one of the nation’s most dynamic leaders in sustainability education.

"The Master Plan for Eden Hall Campus is significant because it embraces the fundamentals of sustainability," explains Dr. Hassenzahl. "Our plan takes a systems approach that gives co-equal consideration to economic issues and social impacts as well the environment. In other words, it will be a carefully balanced place that maximizes learning, builds community, improves the environment and reduces costs–a remarkable achievement."

From Vision to Reality: Features of Eden Hall Campus
The Eden Hall Campus Master Plan anticipates development in four phases over a multi-year period, beginning with a resident student population of 100 which would eventually reach 1,500 students over the next decade. Construction of Phase 1 is estimated to occur over a two- to three-year period at a cost of $30 million.

Each development phase will include both landscape restoration and construction of high-performance buildings. The Master Plan maintains nearly half of the Campus' 388 acres as open space. The Campus will be organized into four districts located to maximize the sustainable use of the land and other resources, facilitate excellence in academics and research, build community, and emphasize natural and artistic beauty.

Mueller Center Campus: Development will begin here with restoration and preservation of existing facilities, construction of academic and residential facilities and intensive landscape restoration. The long-range plan features an EcoCenter, commons building, greenhouse, agricultural fields, amphitheatre, sports complex, constructed wetlands and studio art complex.

Elsalma Center: Interaction with the public at–large – including local residents, eco–tourists, researchers, visiting students and others – will take place at the Elsalma Center located in the northwest corner of the Campus. Highlight features will include a conference center, teaching kitchen, classrooms, workshops, orchard, farm market, aquaponics and living machine, wellness center and more.

Stanford Hill: Located at the Campus' northeast corner, Stanford Hill will include academic and residential buildings set among forests, valley streams, meadows and constructed wetlands.

Elizabeth Meadows: Located at the southeast corner, Elizabeth Meadows will include parking facilities, townhomes for faculty, students and staff, and additional constructed wetlands.

Academics Underway at Eden Hall Campus
Fall 2010 marked the inaugural class of the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment, with 30 students seeking a Master of Arts in Food Studies degree at both the Shadyside and Eden Hall campuses.

"There is tremendous pent-up demand for sustainability education," explains Dr. Hassenzahl. "Over the next ten years, SSE will offer bachelor's through doctoral degrees, beginning with master's programs, as well as professional certification in topics ranging from health care, energy and urban forestry to national security, aquaponics and education."

Students at Chatham's Shadyside Campus and Chatham Eastside facility, including those enrolled in Chatham's College for Women, the College for Graduate Studies and the College for Continuing and Professional Studies will continue to have the opportunity to access academic and other resources at Eden Hall Campus and the School for Sustainability and the Environment.

"As a reflection of the University's mission of environmental stewardship – and an extension of the legacy of alumna Rachel Carson, founder of the modern environmental movement – Eden Hall Campus and the Falk School of Sustainability & Environment connect Chatham's past to its future in powerful ways," says Dr. Barazzone. "This is a tremendous opportunity for Chatham students to become sustainability leaders and entrepreneurs for the 22nd century, impacting the way we live and learn for generations to come."


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