Firm Will Provide Integrated Services for New Center that Incorporates ‘Green’ Design Features Into learning Mission
FREEHOLD, N.J., Nov. 28 /PRNewswire/ — Cubellis, a national architectural, interior design, and engineering firm with offices in Englewood Cliffs and Freehold, has been selected as the Project Architect by the New Jersey Educational Information Resource Center (EIRC) for a new Challenger Learning Center in Mount Laurel Township.
Cubellis will provide architectural, structural engineering, and MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) services at the 12,500 SF facility, only the third such center planned for the State of New Jersey. Cubellis’ design and engineering efforts will utilize innovative, sustainable architectural design concepts and cutting-edge technology to achieve the highest possible level of sustainable performance. The Mount Laurel facility will incorporate many of these “green” strategies to underscore the center's mission of “learning at every turn.”
Located on Briggs Road, the center will provide educational opportunities designed to complement traditional centers of its type along with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) academic enrichment program, distance learning, and overnight accommodations to enhance virtual learning environments. As is the case with other Challenger Learning Centers, it will also house a space station, mission control, training rooms, science lab, offices, cafeteria, and gift shop.
Sustainable Building Design to Underscore Learning Mission
The sustainable building design strategies and technologies employed in the Cubellis design will augment these programs. For example, instructors will highlight the facility’s photovoltaic (PV) panels, under-floor air distribution and rain water collection, and use these building features for demonstration and teaching. Located as an up-front element in the design, the building's PV array will not only provide electricity, but will also act as a shading device for the glazed atrium, offering protection for patrons waiting in line to enter the center. Similarly, design plans call for the space station flight simulator to be set off in order to act as a visual icon and destination akin to a shuttle on launch pad.
Facility to Seek LEED Certification
With Cubellis' assistance, the Mount Laurel center will leverage these and other innovative design concepts to seek Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) certification for the complex. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification is given to facilities that meet nationally accepted benchmark standards for environmentally sustainable design, construction, and operation of high performance “green” buildings.
Levels of LEED certification are awarded by the US Green Building Council (USGBC) when a project’s incorporation of green building practices achieves or exceeds a predefined threshold of performance. Points are garnered by incorporating green design strategies from the following categories: Sustainable Sites; Water Efficiency; Energy and Atmosphere; Materials and Resources; Indoor Environmental Quality; Innovation & Design. Any combination of points from these categories may be used to achieve a level of certification.
“Some clients come to us looking for inspiration and some come to us already inspired,” said Steve Leone, AIA, LEED AP and Principal, Architecture in the Cubellis, Freehold office. “In the case of the Mount Laurel Challenger Learning Center, EIRC is not only inspired, but has an unwavering belief in their mission and a vision for a better future. This foresight will enable the building itself to be included as a teaching aid, demonstrating the value of sustainability through interactive displays and exhibits. It serves as an inspiring example what architecture should always strive to be.”
About Challenger Learning Centers
Challenger Learning Centers offer realistic mock-ups of Mission Control and an orbiting space station. Students join teams at computer consoles or on board the orbiting space lab, uses their imaginations, and work together toward the mission’s goal, whether it is the launching of a probe or the interception of a comet. The experience engages students, transforming them into scientists, engineers or researchers, and placing them in a simulated space mission where they solve real-life challenges.
Challenger Learning Centers reach approximately 400,000 students and upwards of 20,000 teachers per year through a broad array of mission-based activities. Regardless of a student’s cultural background, economic situation, gender, learning style, or academic level, every Challenger Learning Center simulation provides students with opportunities to succeed.
“This will be a “green” regional training center for educators and students in the STEM areas,” said John Henry, Program Director at EIRC. “Kids are very interested in “going green” and are concerned about environmental issues. After all, it is their future and they should be involved with how it is shaped. “Going Green” is not going away any time soon. As an industry it will continue to grow, and if we are prepared and stay ahead of the curve from a business and an educational perspective, we will have minimal problems. If we are not prepared, we will have no excuses. Whatever your motive for “going green” is, financial, environmental, educational, or otherwise, it is the right thing to do.”
EIRC is a public agency specializing in education-related programs and services for parents, schools, communities, nonprofit organizations and privately held businesses throughout New Jersey. The agency’s programs also reach into more than 36 states and 8 foreign countries.
STEM was created in 1992 with NASA and CAHSEE (California High School Exit Examination) support to ensure minority students achieve academic excellence in math, science and engineering. STEM is an academic enrichment program to encourage talented Latinos, female and other under-represented minority and disadvantaged high school students currently enrolled in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades to pursue careers in the fields of engineering, computer science, science, mathematics, business management, entrepreneurship, and teaching.
Cubellis is an integrated, single-source design firm offering architecture, interior design, and engineering services to a diverse base of national and international clients from offices throughout the country. The firm's practice area expertise includes retail, workplace solutions, residential, mixed use, education, municipal/government, and hospitality. Cubellis’ Freehold and Englewood Cliffs office locations are staffed by 40 professionals serving their Northeastern clients. For more information, please visit: www.cubellis.com
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