Middlebury, Vt.?The Northeastern Loggers’ Association (NELA) recently awarded Middlebury College the association’s 2003 Outstanding Use of Wood Award. NELA Vice President Jack Frost Sr. honored Middlebury at the Annual Loggers’ Banquet in West Springfield, Mass., in a ceremony attended by nearly 200 members of the Northeast’s forest products community. Middlebury College Project Manager of Facilities Planning Tom McGinn accepted the award on behalf of the College.

Over the past seven years, Middlebury College has used more than 375,000 board feet of locally harvested and green certified Vermont wood in campus construction and furnishings. Green certified wood has been harvested and processed through ecologically sensitive means. Jack Davis, a log purchaser, the former president of the NELA, and a resident of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, nominated Middlebury College for the award. “It is very meaningful for the College to have been nominated for this award by Jack Davis, someone who is directly involved in Vermont’s wood industry on a day to day basis, because it indicates that our efforts to support local and certified wood have really made a difference in Vermont. That is very gratifying,” said Nan Jenks-Jay, Middlebury College director of environmental affairs.

According to Dave Ginevan, Middlebury College executive vice president of facilities planning, the use of local wood in recent construction also has enhanced significantly the outcome of each project and created a unique character for each building.

Middlebury College building projects that utilize wood harvested from local forests:

Bicentennial Hall is a six-story science center that opened in September 1999. The building’s construction materials included 125,000 board feet of red oak, hard maple, soft maple, birch, beech, cherry and white ash. Seventy percent of this wood came from Vermont family forests within 33 miles of the campus. The various stages of processing the wood required the services of more than 30 local businesses. Middlebury College authorized a change in the specifications for the architectural woodwork from a higher grade to a lower grade, allowing for greater variation in color, natural growth patterns, the incorporation of knots and more extensive use of the lumber generated from each tree.

The Ross Commons/LaForce Hall project includes a student residence hall, dining hall, classrooms, lounges and offices that opened in the fall of 2002. This project utilized 58,000 board feet of wood from five timber harvests, 95 percent of which was from Vermont wood lots managed for sustainability. Middlebury also broadened its integration of local wood use to include furnishings, contracting with Vermont furniture manufacturers to create tables, chairs and sofas.

The Recycling Center, completed in May 2002, utilized 16,000 board feet of spruce, converted to rough-sawn board and batten, for its exterior. This wood was harvested from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf forest lands in Ripton and Hancock.

The Library and Information Technology Center, due to open in June, will include 150,000 board feet of Vermont harvested wood in its design. Seventy percent of the wood is from the College’s Bread Loaf lands, and all of the wood was processed in Vermont. Contributing to economic development in the Northeast Kingdom, Middlebury College awarded a sizable contract for study carrels and end panels to the newly formed employee cooperative Island Pond Woodworkers in 2002. Vermont furniture manufacturers have also been employed to craft reading tables and chairs, tables for group study rooms, and desk furnishings using certified Vermont maple.

Atwater Commons includes two new residence halls and a dining hall due to open in September. Woodworkers used 26,300 board feet of hard maple from a newly certified section of College-owned woodlands at Middlebury’s Bread Loaf campus for flooring in the dining hall, and for chairs and tables in the residence hall library.

The Northeastern Loggers’ Association, headquartered in Old Forge, N.Y., is a trade group representing more than 2,000 members of the Northeast’s logging, sawmilling and paper industry. The Loggers’ Banquet is held each year immediately prior to the Northeastern Forest Products Equipment Expo.

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