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How Green Was My (Moraine) Valley: Community College Shows Off Eco-Friendly Campus

New Tinley Park campus replaces classes held at Andrew High School in an ecological style.

There's something off about the new Moraine Valley Community College campus in Tinley Park.

It takes a while to realize. It's an odor, or rather, the lack of an odor. In fitting with the building's environmental focus, construction materials without volatile organic compounds were chosen.

"That's why there's not that 'new building' smell," said Student Development Specialist Samantha O'Donnell.

The newest campus of Moraine Valley Community College was built entirely with an environmental focus, from the rainwater-absorbent patios to the sunlight-reflective roof. The $10.5 million project is an entirely LEED-certified building incorporating the best in modern environmentally friendly design.

It opened on Oct. 11 and currently has 442 student attending 20 different classes there, O'Donnell said. In spring, it should have 800 to 1,000 students attending 60 different sections of classes, Center Coordinator Meghan Danaher said.

The building is a new home for Moraine Valley classes currently held at Victor J. Andrew High School, in addition to having extra features like a tutoring center, computer lab, study lounge and testing center, Danaher said.

"Andrew High School has been wonderful to us, but this gives the students more of a college environment," she said.

But the watchword for this building is "green," from the bioswales filtering groundwater runoff to the 95 percent recycled elevators. Even the classrooms were designed to limit energy loss, having segmented lighting rather than one over-glowing light source.

"You can turn on the lights (only) where you need them in the room," O'Donnell said.

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