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Millersville University offers sneak peek into new $7M welcome center

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A rendering shows plans for the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University.
A rendering shows plans for the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University. - (Photo / )
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A rendering shows plans for the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University. - (Photo / Submitted) Crews work on the Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University. The center is expected to be completed in January. - (Photo / Submitted) A path leads to the Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University. - (Photo / Submitted) A tour group including local legislators and business representatives tours the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University on Nov. 9. The center will house the university’s admissions, sustainability and several other administrative departments, as well as serve as an educational center for environmentally friendly building practices. Crews hope to finish construction in January. - (Photo / Jennifer Wentz) Chris Steuer, sustainability officer at Millersville University, shows off the under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center during a tour with local legislators and business leaders on Nov. 9. - (Photo / Jennifer Wentz) Shannon Kaplan from AKF Group, a New York-based engineering firm, shows off the Lombardo Welcome Center to a tour group Nov. 9. Kaplan was one of the lead architects on the project. - (Photo / Jennifer Wentz) Architect Shannon Kaplan, left, and Millersville University sustainability officer Chris Steuer, right, show off Millersville's under-construction Lombardo Welcome Center on Nov. 9. - (Photo / Jennifer Wentz) Construction crews work on the Lombardo Welcome Center at Millersville University on Nov. 9. The center, viewed here from inside the university’s dining facility, will house Millersville’s admissions, sustainability and several other administrative departments, as well as serve as an educational center for environmentally friendly building practices. Crews hope to finish construction in January. - (Photo / Jennifer Wentz)

 

Millersville University's new welcome center provides visitors with 13,600 square feet of contradictions.

The university broke ground on the center in March, with hopes of creating a new home for its admissions, sustainability, housing and other administrative departments. Officials want the facility to have net-zero energy, meaning it produces at least as much energy as it consumes.

The best way to conserve energy in a building is to have essentially no windows and limit the use of air conditioning and heating, project architect Shannon Kaplan explained Thursday during a tour of the facility. But a dark cube full of people shivering in the winter and sweating in the summer would do little to create an environment that entices new students to attend the school.

The Lombardo Welcome Center's design is a compromise, said Kaplan, of New York-based engineering firm AKF Group. It balances environmentally friendly features like solar panels, geothermal heating, recyclable furniture and water-conserving rain gardens with welcoming floor-to-ceiling windows and accommodations that make working and visiting the building a pleasant experience.

Crews expect to finish construction on the building in January, said Chris Steuer, Millersville University's sustainability officer. When they do, Steuer hopes to see the building become not just a hub for Millersville's 10,000 annual visitors, but also a place where local school groups and professionals come to learn about sustainable building practices.

Panels throughout the building will provide education about steps builders and consumers can take to conserve energy. The center will also have a small array of solar panels on display outside, providing a visual representation of the largely out-of-sight roof panels that will supply much of the Lombardo Welcome Center's energy.

The building cost about $7 million to construct - a pricetag Steuer says will pay for itself in saved energy costs over the next 30 years. Construction was partially funded by donations from Benecon Group CEO Samuel Lombardo and his wife, Dena.

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Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz

Jennifer Wentz covers Lancaster County, York County, financial services, taxation and legal services. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at jwentz@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @jenni_wentz.

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sbamnjd November 21, 2017 2:31 am

With the advancement in the world, we are also facing the critical conditions and don't know that how to cope up with them. If we talk about the difficulties in the education then professional dissertation writers tell us about the Versailles University, which is a better place for learning.

Phaidon Shreve November 13, 2017 9:32 am

Please note that Ms. Kaplan is an architectural engineer, not an architect. They are related but separate professions.

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