Michigan College of Optometry
Big Rapids, MI, USA

Project Details

Neumann / Smith Architecture
Big Rapids, MI, USA
Project Year

Since 1975, Michigan College of Optometry students at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Michigan, have learned and trained in a converted residence hall built in 1968. Spaces were long and narrow with poor lighting, and the clinic was located on the fifth and sixth floor, not conducive to vision-impaired, handicapped and elderly patients. The heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems had build-ons that resulted in extremely inefficient circulation. It was at the point that the school’s accreditation rating was impacted.

The solution opened in January 2011: The Michigan College of Optometry and Center for Collaborative Health Education is a $26.9 million, three-story, 91,000-square-foot building that is certified Gold LEED. This modern health care facility features flexible, state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory and clinical spaces; MCO faculty and administrative offices; cutting-edge computer laboratories; distance learning facilities; auditorium; and a lounge/ library. The ground-floor clinic provides eye and vision services to students, faculty and staff, as well as surrounding residents.

The MCO features Guardian SunGuard SuperNeutral 62 on clear. The high light transmittance and low solar heat gain of SN62 has a significant impact on the building’s heating and cooling. This energy and atmosphere control, as well as the indoor environmental quality from daylighting, contributed to the building’s LEED status. With visible light transmittance (VLT) of 62 percent and a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.31, SN 62 delivers a light-to-solar gain (LSG) ratio of 1.99.

From the glass atrium foyer to the two-story glass-enclosed lounge/lobby to the classroom windows, the dramatic amount of natural light helps the students and faculty, too. The impact of daylighting on occupants is well-documented, from improving mood to improving student test scores.

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Build With Light
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