YELLOW SPRINGS (AP) — A small, western Ohio liberal arts college that temporarily closed is making sustainability and energy efficiency part of its revival strategy involving an estimated $81 million in campus improvements.
Antioch College in Yellow Springs closed in 2008, citing financial problems and the high cost of maintaining deteriorating facilities. It reopened as an independent school in 2011 with help from an alumni-led group.
The college has since finished about $37 million in improvements, including the initial phases of a central geothermal plant and renovations to its Arts & Science building, the Dayton Daily News (http://bit.ly/1BtPcj3) reported. In the next seven years, the school plans more projects and improvements totaling $44 million.
College President Mark Roosevelt said a lack of maintenance left campus buildings deteriorating, but the school took advantage of that with renovation plans to allow for more efficient, less costly maintenance down the line.
“Most colleges tell you can’t do it because they’ve got all this money invested in equipment,” Roosevelt said. “We didn’t have any of that because it was all decrepit.”
Some of the redesigns so far focused on shrinking its carbon footprint, improving energy efficiency and encouraging sustainable living. An old dormitory was demolished, several other buildings are under consideration for repurposing, and those that remain will get upgrades such as solar arrays, geothermal heating and cooling systems, low-flow plumbing fixtures and more energy-efficient lighting, officials said.
“The vision is for a tight, efficient, clean, no-frills campus,” Roosevelt said.
The school borrowed against a $42 million endowment to finance capital improvement projects, the newspaper reported.