Residence Hall Earns LEED Silver Certification

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2010
Media Contact: Denise Cook
(706) 379-5237,

Young Harris College’s New Residence Hall Earns LEED Silver Certification

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Young Harris College has been awarded LEED Silver Certification for its new residence hall, Enotah Hall, 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 $16 million, 62,500 square-foot, three-story residential facility opened in August 2009 to house 200 students. Enotah Hall’s 50 residential suites are each comprised of two double-occupancy rooms.

The Green Building Certification Institute is a third-party reviewer for the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization committed to promoting national sustainability through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC developed the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System to provide building owners and operators with a framework of tools and performance criteria for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of high performance green buildings.

LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

According to the USGBC’s Web site, only two other facilities in North Georgia have registered a higher LEED rating; a USDA Forest Service Ranger office and a Georgia Department of Natural Resources state park hikers’ inn both have gold certification. The majority of Georgia’s LEED-certified buildings are in and around the Atlanta area.

“From the very beginning, we wanted this new residence hall to complement our environment,” Young Harris College President Cathy Cox said. “We wanted large expanses of windows to take in our beautiful views, and we wanted it to set a standard for being ‘environmentally friendly.’ We have all that and more in this fabulous facility.”

Brailsford and Dunlavey served as program manager through the design and construction of the project. Led by Chet Roach, the Brailsford and Dunlavey team was responsible for the development of and adherence to a LEED plan while managing the design and construction teams working on the project. Acting as a representative for Young Harris College, Roach and his team provided information to College administration throughout the process in order for the College to make the most informed decisions possible as related to LEED credits targeted and achieved.

“This is an exciting achievement for Young Harris College, as well as for everyone on the project team,” Roach said. “This is certainly a bold testament to the College’s commitment to sustainable design and its position as an exemplary environmental steward in the community.”

 “If you look at where LEED projects are registered, they tend to be located in urban areas,” said Jackson Kane, a project manager with Lord, Aeck & Sargent, who served as the architect for Enotah Hall. “One of the ways this project serves the community at large is by demonstrating sustainable design in the north Georgia mountains.”

Young Harris College 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.

Kane noted that the building was constructed with regional and recycled materials, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified wood, and low-VOC paints and sealants. Also, the building employs generous daylighting and sustainable site strategies. Robust energy-saving measures conserve natural resources and minimize adverse environmental effects.

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. 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.

“This building sets the tone for how we move forward,” said Susan Rogers, vice president for student development at Young Harris College. ”It’s full of ‘wow’ moments – from the third-floor terrace, which is one of our most popular gathering spots for students, to the lovely little comfortable seating spaces with windows at the end of each wing. The students are crazy about it. When we took students through during our orientation weekends last summer, wherever we took them, their first response was ‘wow.’”

Stuart Miller, resident director of Enotah Hall, handles the day-to-day operations of the building, including reservations for the increasingly popular third-floor conference room. “Things are going great in Enotah Hall. I have not heard one complaint from students,” he said. “The lobby on the first floor is definitely the place to be after a long day of classes. Whether studying or socializing, the students love the open space to hang out with their friends.”

Patrick Sanders, a freshman from Winder, Ga., serves as hall council president. “I don’t know if Young Harris College can make a better building,” he said. “To be a freshman and live in a place this nice is amazing!”

The building also made a significant positive impact on the local economy. Nearly $4.5 million, or approximately 30% of the total project cost, was spent locally among several counties surrounding the College. Additionally, the large majority of non-local workers stayed at local hotels and contributed to the overall economic well-being of the community through the purchase of meals and other services in the area. Hardin Construction’s staff members have also rented local properties for housing since June 2008, providing a steady income stream for local property owners.

The project team for Young Harris College’s Enotah Hall included:

  • Young Harris College (Young Harris, Ga.), owner
  • Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Inc. (Atlanta office), architect of record, design architect
  • Hardin Construction Company (Atlanta), construction company
  • Eberly & Associates, Inc. (Atlanta), civil engineer and landscape architect
  • KSi/Structural  Engineers (Atlanta), structural engineer
  • Andrews, Hammock & Powell, Inc. (Macon, Ga.), MEP/FP engineer
  • Brailsford & Dunlavey (Washington, D.C.), owner’s representative.

As part of its transition to a four-year college, Young Harris College has grown enrollment by 11 percent since the 2007-2008 academic year. With enrollment at a record high for the third consecutive year at the start of the 2009-2010 academic year, the College urgently needed a new residence hall to accommodate continued growth. The need was fulfilled in August 2009 with the opening of Enotah Hall, whose design honors the campus’ architectural heritage while heralding the arrival of a new chapter in the College’s history.

About Young Harris College
Founded in 1886, Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia. Historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. Long known for nurturing students during the first two years of college, Young Harris College received accreditation in 2008 to grant bachelor’s degrees. The College currently has approximately 700 students across four divisions—Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Science—and plans to increase enrollment to 1,200 over the next few years. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. For more information, visit