Heritage Hall celebration leads to new student aid opportunity

contact: Cheryl Roland
| WMU News

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A June 21 event held to mark Western Michigan University's success in creating one of the state's most environmentally savvy facilities led one of the companies involved in the work to enhance the celebration with the gift of an endowed scholarship to support future interior design majors.

President and CEO Bjorn Green, of the architectural and engineering design firm TowerPinkster, presented a check to WMU President John M. Dunn at the end of a brief ceremony held to celebrate newly renovated Heritage Hall attaining the highest ranking possible, LEED Platinum, in the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design system. TowerPinkster was the design firm for the renovation of the historic building.

Photo of Peter Strazdas, Bjorn Green, Cheri Holman, John M. Dunn, Renee Pearl and Jason Novotny.

LEED Platinum celebration group at Heritage Hall, left to right: Peter Strazdas, Bjorn Green, Cheri Holman, WMU President John M. Dunn, Renee Pearl and Jason Novotny.

At the close of the event, Green announced his firm's second WMU endowed scholarship, presenting the University with a $30,000 check to fund a student scholarship in interior design. He noted that while the firm's first endowed scholarship was in engineering, the interior design focus of the new scholarship is particularly appropriate, given the fact that two of his colleagues who are WMU graduates played major roles in the Heritage Hall work. They are interior design professionals Meghan Boyer, who leads the Interior Design team at TowerPinkster, and Shelbi Iseminger.

The Heritage Hall LEED Platinum celebration attracted an intimate crowd of building occupants, University leaders, WMU alumni and students, and people involved in construction and design. Also on hand was Cheri Holman, executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council's West Michigan Chapter. She lauded WMU for going after the LEED Platinum certification, Kalamazoo's first such designation.

"It shows true commitment to conservation and sustainability," she told the crowd, noting that the difficult renovation took Heritage Hall from being the least energy efficient building on campus to one of the most efficient in the state.

WMU's Dunn referenced Holman's description of the starting status of the building and noted another way to say that is, "we were heating the outside."

The dramatic renovation of the birthplace of WMU received statewide acclaim in 2016 when it earned the Governor's Energy Award for Michigan in the public buildings category. It is also in the running for a number of other awards.

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