Chatham University will hold a private groundbreaking ceremony today on the $40 million initial phase of its new Eden Hall Campus in Richland.
The campus is the future home of the School of Sustainability and the Environment.
The university recently received a $25,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to establish a weather and microclimate monitoring station, said Molly Mehling, assistant professor.
"We will put in a weather monitor that will measure wind speed, rain gauge and other important weather factors," she said.
The university also will install soil sensors that measure various components of the soil, including water flow and drainage, Ms. Mehling said.
The information gathered through the weather monitor and soil sensor will assist the university as it builds and renovates buildings on campus.
As a sustainable campus, Chatham will design buildings that will incorporate high performance and integrated design, Ms. Mehling said.
The buildings will be monitored to determine energy consumption, allowing them to be laboratories for researching and testing best energy-saving measures in public buildings.
Ms. Mehling said the grant proposal was designed so that Chatham students would be able to have hands-on experience by following the findings and monitoring the results. The program will serve as a model program that other colleges and universities may replicate.
"We hope to have the monitors up and running within a month," Ms. Mehling said.
The initial stage of construction consists of the development of field labs, classrooms, a dining hall, a cafe, an amphitheater, a mosaic garden and infrastructure development to be complete by fall 2013.
Two residence halls supporting 150 beds are scheduled for completion in 2015.
Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer: email@example.com.