Seaside, CA – Release Date: January 26, 2011

Dan Geiger, Executive Director of USGBC – Northern California Chapter will officiate at the unveiling ceremony of Monterey College of Law’s Platinum LEED Medallion for its Community Justice Center on Tuesday, February 2, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. The LEED Platinum medallion represents certification of the highest standard of “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” as defined by the United States Green Building Council. It has become the first Law School in the nation to achieve this high distinction.

The Community Justice Center, located adjacent to the law school’s current education center in Seaside includes a courtroom, five indoor and three outdoor caucus areas for mediation, and offices of the Mandell Gisnet Center for Conflict Management and the Monterey County Bar Association.

Daniel M. Silvernail A.I.A., Co-chair of the Monterey Bay Branch of the USGBC has also organized a presentation by Mr. Geiger on the “State of the USGBC” that will follow the ceremony. Mr. Geiger is a highly experienced social entrepreneur with more than 25 years of start-up, executive and leadership experience, and has consulted on business planning, strategy and organizational development in the nonprofit, for-profit and philanthropy sectors. Mr. Geiger is the senior executive for the USGBC – Northern California Chapter that serves more than 1,700 members in 5 regions of Northern California. He is a LEED AP, and holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC-Berkeley.

Mitchel Winick, President and Dean of the law school is quick to point out that “although this is a relatively small 6,000 sq. ft. project, it represents a number of notable ‘firsts'”. According to project architect Daryl Hawkins of JHW Architects, “The Center is the first LEED project in Monterey County to use a design and construction team that is entirely local professional firms. Although not required under the LEED standards, it was important to the law school to give priority to local professional firms and local building materials suppliers,” said Hawkins. “A collaborative process with a dynamic local team allowed us to deliver a green building solution that was financially sustainable for the college,” commented Joe Piedimonte, LEED AP for the project and Ausonio Incorporated. Ausonio was selected as the general contractor and had previously built Chartwell School, the only other LEED New Construction Platinum project in Monterey County.

Another “first” is that the project is the first decommissioned Fort Ord military building to be remodeled as a “green building” using LEED Platinum standards. Thousands of decommissioned military buildings across the country were re-designated for possible civilian use during the base realignment and closure process that started in 1989. However, according to Dean Winick, “the new Community Justice Center may be the first project in the nation to prove that it is possible to cost-effectively remodel these abandoned buildings as ‘green buildings’ rather than tear them down and dump them in a land fill.” Hawkins pointed out that “this project is an important educational opportunity to show that LEED Platinum standards supporting environmental sustainability are not in conflict with designing and building practical and cost effective buildings.” The project reused 94% of the original building envelope and recycled 97% of the construction waste.

Ausonio’s team of Jim Staniec, LEED AP and Senior Project Manager, and Joe Piedimonte LEED AP BD+C and LEED AP O+M will give a tour of the building after the unveiling. The tour will show the effective mix of new and recycled materials throughout the facility. The new building features photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity, low flow water fixtures, high efficiency mechanical and electrical components, extensive use of natural light, including skylights, bamboo flooring, and recycled carpet, bathroom tiles, furniture, and even computers. “One of the most interesting features of the new building is that we finished-out the courtroom judge’s bench, counsel tables, and wall paneling out of salvaged materials from the 1950’s era Watsonville Courthouse that was closed two years ago,” said Winick.

“We looked for every opportunity to recycle and reuse as we outfitted the new facility,” said Winick. “Our conference room chairs and tables are ‘rescued’ from the old Watsonville Courthouse. All of the desks, chairs, file cabinets, and even computers are recycled corporate furniture and equipment. Even the chairs for the judges are made from recycled leather.”

The outside of the building is also an exhibit of an environmentally sustainable site plan. The cinder blocks used in the front columns are a product called Integrity Block and are made through a process that uses less energy and a more environmentally friendly mix of concrete and natural materials. The “dry swale” located along the front of the building is part of a system for recapturing surface water so that it percolates back into the underground aquifer. Even the pathways that connect the two buildings enhance the recapture of surface water. “The Granitecrete walkways and back patio may look like concrete, but the unique material is semi-permeable which means that rainwater passes through the material and back into the sub-surface aquifer,” pointed out Hawkins.

The law school initially moved to the Fort Ord campus from downtown Monterey in 2005. Its first project was remodeling a 12,000 sq. ft. building for classrooms, law library, administrative offices, and faculty offices. Although the classroom building was not initially remodeled using LEED criteria, the law school has taken advantage of opportunities to repaint and re-carpet using “green products” and uses the same “green” cleaning and maintenance policies developed by Ausonio in both buildings.

For additional information contact:

Mitchel L. Winick
President and Dean
Monterey College of Law
(831) 582-4000

Daniel M. Silvernail A.I.A.
Co-chair, Monterey Bay Branch
U.S. GBC – Northern California Chapter
(831) 462-9138