In 2009, Young Harris College opened its first facility built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. The $16 million, 62,500 square-foot, three-story residential facility houses 200 students. Enotah Hall was awarded LEED Silver certification by the Green Building Certification Institute, making it the first higher education facility in the state north of the Atlanta area to achieve this level of certification. The building was designed and constructed using strategies to ensure energy savings, water efficiency, stewardship of resources and other performance metrics.The residential wings are oriented so that windows are within 15 degrees of due south or due north, maximizing daylighting while minimizing late afternoon glare. The building was constructed with regional and recycled materials, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified wood, and low-VOC paints and sealants. Robust energy-saving measures conserve natural resources and minimize adverse environmental effects .Deep roof overhangs help shade the upper terrace, and the two-story porch provides coverage at the building’s west-facing curtainwall openings. Rainchains direct water from the terrace into the planters at the base of the porch’s masonry columns. YHC made it a top priority to implement sustainable design practices that reduce the College’s carbon footprint, including an upgrade to a geothermal mechanical system with an energy recovery unit.
After laying dormant for a number of years, the YHC farm, located west of the college campus near the edge of Towns County, is seeing new life. The one-acre plot is now being used to cultivate plants and trees.
The College’s two-level, state-of-the-art, LEED-certified facility opened in 2010 to rave reviews and earned a spot in Athletic Business magazine’s 2011 “Architectural Showcase” of the top college/university facilities in the nation. This 57,000-square-foot facility features a first-class, fully equipped weight room and fitness center, an impressive 37-foot-high rock climbing wall, an elevated indoor jogging track surrounding the facility and a state-of-the-art 1,100-purple-seat, NCAA-regulation arena. The center also boasts the Balance Café, a healthy food and juice bar, multipurpose classrooms for yoga, dance and aerobics, office space and locker rooms for the athletic department and wide expanses of windows to enjoy the surrounding mountain-landscape views.
The Village, an apartment-style housing community for upperclassmen, opened in August 2011. The furnished apartments in The Village are constructed on a rolling terrain with views of the surrounding mountains and campus athletic facilities. The first phase of construction called for 148 beds, configured in apartments of four private bedrooms, for Fall 2011. A second phase will offer another 108 beds in the same configuration. In addition to four private bedrooms, each apartment includes a living area, kitchen and washer and dryer. The "village" atmosphere is facilitated by expansive porches, designated areas for grilling and abundant green space surrounding the apartments. The Village is designed and constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and is expected to earn LEED certification.
New Residence Hall
In September 2012, construction began on a new residence hall that will provide an additional 200 beds for freshmen and sophomores. The new residence hall will be configured in “pods,” or small communities consisting of students living in different sizes and styles of rooms surrounding a common bath area. Each pod will also feature lounges and study alcoves, providing students with ample areas to study and socialize. The innovative pod concept is a growing trend in residence life nationwide. It provides both living and learning spaces that encourage student interaction and foster a sense of community during their first couple of years on campus. The new residence hall is scheduled to open in time for Fall 2013 occupancy. The facility will be designed and constructed to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards and is expected to earn LEED certification.
The next major facility planned for the College is the 125,000-square-foot campus center—combining a dining hall, banquet facility, library and student center into a single, convenient state-of-the art building that will become the lively hub of campus. The campus center, currently in the final stages of design, is being created to LEED standards as well. Construction is expected to begin in 2011.