Mesa Community College's physical science building, which opened in the fall of 2008, has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold ranking by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The 62,000-square-foot science facility includes a 53-seat planetarium that is, in part, powered by rooftop photovoltaic panels donated by Salt River Project. There is also an interactive graphic display kiosk where students can track the solar energy harvested by the panels and see the inner workings of a building's engineering systems to learn about its sustainable features.
The $20 million building was designed by SmithGroup and built by Barton Malow.
The gold certification is one of many ways MCC strives to be respectful of the environment, according to a college spokeswoman.
This past summer, the copper awnings on the Southern and Dobson campus were replaced and recycled, earning nearly $20,000 for MCC's recycling program.
The college's Saguaro building, which opened this fall, is also in line to receive the LEED gold certification.