EAST LANSING, Mich. – The school colors are green and white, so it seems appropriate Michigan State University Federal Credit Union’s new headquarters will be green-green, that is, in the environmental sense. The 140,000 square-foot structure will be the first new Lansing-area building to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, rates buildings in five major areas-sustainable sites, energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, green building materials and indoor air quality. Spokeswoman Joyce Banish credits president/CEO Patrick McPharlin with sparking the idea. “He’s worked here for 37 years and during that time he suffered in one of the offices that was colder than it should have been and lacked any natural light. He was there for many years,” Banish explains. “He really wanted something with temperature control and fresh air instead of stale recycled air that would make people sick. He wanted something that was happy for the employees and happy for the environment.” Past experience, she continues, suggests the big challenge in developing any building is respecting the surrounding area. The building will sit on a high site with lots of sand and gravel so no wetlands are involved. There is a small pond that will be preserved not only for the natural inhabitants and growth it supports, but as a visual focus from the back of the headquarters building. Employees will be able to see the pond from the staff cafeteria and patio as well as from offices with windows facing the rear. There will also be a one-mile walking trail with exercise stations taking hikers past the pond. What about cost of this LEED effort? “Without a doubt a LEED project is going to cost something,” Banish acknowledges. “It is not a substantial amount, and we figure with a healthy environment and natural light the average employee will really work better. There will be savings in health costs and greater productivity.” The idea of a new headquarters has been in the works for several years. “There were a few other locations we looked at,” Banish says. “One was in a redevelopment project. We thought that would take too long. In addition, we really wanted an East Lansing address and the city recently annexed the area where we’ll build. The property opened up and it’s a very, very nice development. It’s where the major growth in this area is.” Rough plans first called for 100,000 square feet. But as the credit union has doubled over the past five years, that’s been hiked to 140,000 square feet. Currently at least 80 headquarters employees are located in leased space elsewhere. “Every time we’ve engaged in a building project we’ve hired a consultant who has told us how much space we should have, we’ve added on 20%, and in a few years we’re outgrowing it,” Banish says. In addition, cost per square foot isn’t going to shrink. So the new building allows what those involved consider ample room to grow. The site contains 33 acres, so there’s even more space if in the future a campus-style complex is needed. Flexibility is definitely folded into the actual structure itself. Raised floors will feature squares that can be lifted to allow kiosks, tables and computer and electrical cables to be completely reworked. Floor vents will allow employees to control the temperature in their area to some degree. Occupancy is expected sometime in fall 2007. [email protected]

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