Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall
Dedicated on October 18, 2019!
The Waterfront Campus at Washington College was first conceptualized in 2008, and now, thanks to the generosity of our donors over the past ten years, we are finally seeing this vision come to life!
Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall (SGEH) provides academic and lab spaces for the College’s growing environmental programs. It will also be a regional hub for hands-on research on the Chester River, and a magnet for thought leadership centered on the environment and the challenges facing the region, the country, and the world.
SGEH has multiple unique features that allow WC students and the community to thrive in this one-of-a-kind learning space.
Three Innovative Lab Spaces
Wet Lab and River Flow-Through System – The wet lab hosts a river flow-through system, which pumps water from the Chester River directly into and out of the lab. This allows our students to study different aspects of the Chester River in a controlled environment using water directly from the river.
Watershed Innovation Lab – The Watershed Innovation lab serves as the home to CES’s Chester River Watershed Observatory. Here, students have the opportunity to work on buoys that monitor the river’s water quality, side-scan sonar, build AquaBotz and more.
Environmental and Biology Lab – The third lab serves as a laboratory learning space for some Environmental and Biology courses at Washington College.
The classroom at SGEH is used for multiple Environmental and Biology courses, along with serving as the on-campus classroom for CES’s Chesapeake Semester.
SGEH is the new home to the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College, one of three Signature Centers that focus on providing undergraduate students with graduate-level experiences outside of the classroom.
Living Building Challenge
SGEH is built to achieve a Living Building Challenge certification. Living Building Challenge is a sustainable development model that is a step above LEED certification. Not only does this certification require that we use sustainable building materials and thoughtful decision making around the natural environment, but it also requires that the building produces at least 105% of the energy that it will use. This will be done through a strand of solar panels that will be stationed on the roof of the building, along with geothermal wells that are installed underneath the building. Living Building Challenge also requires a focus on the health and happiness of the building tenants, along with a focus on art and accessibility to the community.