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Media Advisory

For immediate use

April 10, 2007

N.C. Botanical Garden to honor ground for ‘green’ visitor education center

Thursday (April 12)
4 p.m.
Laurel Hill Road extension
(South side U.S. 15-501/N.C. 54 bypass near Old Mason Farm Road)
Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill invites media representatives to attend a ceremony to honor the ground on which construction of the North Carolina Botanical Garden’s new Visitor Education Center will begin this summer. Chancellor James Moeser and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue are expected to attend along with other university officials, Botanical Garden Foundation officers and garden staff.

The Visitor Education Center is designed as a Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design structure, the highest certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council. It will be used to welcome and orient visitors, and provide space for school classes and horticultural therapy activities as well as for interpretive exhibits and meeting space.

Last year, the student-run campus group Renewable Energy Special Projects Committee made the group’s largest award to date to help construct a geothermal well system as part of the center. A $4-per-semester student fee approved by students generated the funds.

The geothermal well system will significantly reduce the cost of heating and cooling the 29,000-square-foot center. Geothermal wells act like a giant heat pump. Water circulates through deeply buried, sealed pipes, taking advantage of the earth’s constant temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit to cool the building in summer and warm it in winter.

Other “green” features of the building will include photovoltaic panels that generate electricity from sunlight, rainwater cisterns and storm water “rain gardens,” clerestory windows that harvest controlled daylight and locally sourced, non-toxic construction materials.

N.C. Botanical Garden Web site: http://www.ncbg.unc.edu

Note: Parking will be available on the Laurel Hill Road extension near its intersection with Coker Drive. Please access this area by turning south on Manning Drive from the U.S. 15-501/N.C. 54 bypass.

North Carolina Botanical Garden contact: Peter White, (919) 962-6939, peter.white@unc.edu
News Services contact: Lisa Katz, (919) 962-2093, lisa_katz@unc.edu