Bastrop, Hays counties adopt (LEED) ACC campuses

Story and photos by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

Graphics courtesy of ACC

Courtesy of ACC






Two new campuses are on track to serve the areas annexed into the Austin Community College District during the November 2010 elections. Both the Elgin and Hays campuses are the first community colleges in their counties (Bastrop and Hays), and both are being built to meet a minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard of silver.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system which identifies and implements green building design, construction, operations and maintenance practices. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — certified, silver, gold and platinum according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Each rating corresponds to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Professor Dan Dewberry who teaches the Sustainable/Green Business course explained why ACC would want its new campuses to receive LEED rating of silver.

“In the long run, businesses lower costs by conserving energy. More efficient cooling devices along with smart windows and architectural designs can have a significant impact on reducing energy costs,” Dewberry said. “Instead of building new power plants, ACC and the community can grow yet use the same amount of energy. ”

Pam Collier, the project manager of the Elgin campus, said the project is on schedule and on budget and the brick for the outside of the building is being purchased from local brick manufacturer.

Dewey said, “Purchasing local raw materials reduces air pollution from shipping goods. And supporting local business means that the revenue earned will more likely be spent in Central Texas, benefiting the economy of the community.”

Andy Kim, facilities manager for the new campuses, said that purchasing raw materials locally also increases ACC’s LEED points.

The architect for the Elgin project, O’Connell Robertson, designed the Elgin campus to take on the look and feel of the city of Elgin, combining the old city look with the new building feel.

The campus will have water efficient plumbing fixtures, including dual flushing toilets, water saving faucet fixtures and water efficient landscaping. Rain water will be collected and used for irrigation.

The campus will have energy efficient LED outdoor lighting, and energy efficient florescent and LED lighting indoors. LED lighting has become more affordable and is now made to be dimmable. Running the light at a reduced power lengthens the life of the bulb, Kim said. The campus will also have solar panels that are tied back to the grid to reduce the campus consumption of power.

The Hays Campus had its ground breaking ceremony on June 27, 2012, and the design of the campus is complete. ACC signed a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contract with the building project manager, Flintco and a notice to proceed will be issued as soon as the Plum Creek Architecture Review Committee approves the project and the site development permit is secured from the city of Kyle.

The proposed master plan for the campus has four phases with a total of 10 buildings. The first phase will be one of the buildings and the infrastructure of the campus. The site is adjacent to a future commuter rail line, with easy access to I-35.

Both campuses will embrace energy conservation and green living with extensive recycling programs.

The restrooms will have high velocity hand driers to reduce the paper waste and save energy from the batteries required to run the paper dispensers.

Five percent of the parking spaces will be dedicated to green car parking, and some spaces will be used for carpools during high demand hours. Bike racks will also be installed to promote bicycling to campus.

As part of the LEED certification, the campuses are designed for heat island effect, in which the ambient air of built-up areas can be about 20 degrees hotter than in nearby rural areas.

As a solution, light reflective surfaces like concrete will be used for the parking lots and rooftops as opposed to asphalt which is a light absorbing material.

The Elgin Campus is expected to open in fall 2013, and the Hays Campus in spring 2014. The campuses are initially expected to house classes for 1,500 students.

For more information visit austincc. edu/sustainability.

ACC student Megan Rue: organization leader, political activist, and equal rights advocate

Story by Abra Gist • Online Editor

Photos by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

Jon Shapley • Video Editor






Austin Community College student Leader Megan Rue is just getting started.

Almost every student that comes to Austin Community College attends with big plans for their futures in mind. As a transient higher education institution, it’s difficult to establish the same sense of school spirit as bigger four-year universities such as The University of Texas or Texas State. With all the outside commitments that many ACC students possess, it can be difficult to get involved and take part in student organizations.

Nevertheless, ACC students that do take on the challenge are just as dedicated as other college students. For those who follow campus activities one name will pop up often. That name is Megan Rue.

This self-described traditional college student, raised in Austin, has immersed herself in the ACC community, as well as the local community in almost every way that an individual can. Her service and dedication exemplifies student leadership in every aspect.

Rue is currently pursuing three separate majors at ACC, (Government, History, and English), although she will only be awarded one associate degree. So far Rue has settled on government for her degree, and she plans on using her additional studies to influence social change and continue her activism once she graduates. Rue’s leadership and student involvement is something to behold. She has supported non-profits, volunteered at Center for Student Political Studies (CSPS) events (of which she is now President) and advocated  or equal rights at Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) events as an officer. The list goes on.

“Honestly, I started out with the motivation to build my resume. Looking back I can honestly say I didn’t see the change in me until it had already happened,” she said. “My student organization involvement turned into something bigger and I think that just happens when you connect with a cause or the people in an organization.”

Rue attributes her ability to manage being a full time student along with working and being involved in so many organizations to a simple solution.

“Lists! I make lists.” Rue said while laughing and elaborated that the lists always started of  in her head. “You have to set goals. The truth is I make these mental lists that evolve into the hand written list version.”

She said she writes down 10-15 duties that she wants to accomplish, and then cuts that list in half to determine the focus of her day.

“I also have a job that supports my activism and higher education.” Rue is a barrista and her manager is a college professor. “She allows me to do homework during downtime and she understands that my priority is my higher education.”

On September 18, Rue officiated in her latest role as the new CSPS president, at ACC’s Constitution Debate Day Celebration held at the Palmer Events Center. As she took the stage a hush came over the crowd. Although she came across shy, she effortlessly gained the attention of the auditorium full of about 400 people.

“Susan B. Anthony said, ‘It was we the people, not we the white, male citizens, nor we the male citizens, but we the whole people who formed the union,’” Rue said.

She gave accounts of the amazing and daring feats that women had performed independently and alongside men during the American Revolution.

“It is when I read these stories of courage and sacrifice and cleverness and resourcefulness, that I realize that I am written in the Constitution. I, just like every other citizen am integral to the operational success of our country.”

Rue urged the crowd to register to vote and become active in the democratic process. She thanked the crowd for their attentiveness and participation in the festivities then left the stage.

Among a sea of round tables with students, families, teachers and facilitators (including Judges and attorneys) debating the controversial issues Constitution Day conjures up, Megan never stopped for a break to admire the event she helped organize. She never sat down. She was constantly conferring with her mentors and making sure that every aspect was in order so that each attendee had what they needed to enjoy event.

“This was a two-day operation and Megan was there as part of the set up crew and recruited volunteers to help Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS) get the event organized, ”CPPPS Director Peck Young said. “Megan’s great to work with, she’s very efficient, very competent and organized. As you saw from the speech she’s extremely articulate.”

Rue said passion is needed in order to dedicate time to extracurricular activities and that students should look for causes that speak to them to make involvement more meaningful and enjoyable.

“So much of what I do doesn’t feel like work,” she said.

Accent will be on the lookout for more student leaders like Megan Rue. Email us at editor@austincc. edu and let us know if there is an ACC leader we should spotlight in our next issue.