Campus News

The 90 Awarded LEED Certification

The 90, UK Photo | Pete Comparoni
The 90 has achieved LEED certification. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 22, 2020) — The 90, the free-standing dining commons at the University of Kentucky, has been awarded LEED certification for its environmental performance and sustainable design.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. The 90 joins the Joe Craft Football Training Facility, Kroger Field and the Gatton College of Business and Economics as LEED-certified UK facilities. The 90 earned the prestigious designation in March 2020.  

“The 20+ LEED-certified buildings on our campus highlight our work to integrate energy efficiency, environmental stewardship and the health of our community in our work with campus facilities. These are priorities that we focus on in the construction, renovation, operation and maintenance of all campus buildings and grounds,” said Mary Vosevich, UK’s vice president and chief facilities officer.

The 90 opened in 2015 after a record 16 months from the start of design through construction. UK worked with dining provider Aramark, RossTarrant Architects, Tipton Associates and Rycon Construction to create a facility that serves students, faculty and staff under one state-of-the-art roof. The 90 has transformed campus culture by becoming a hub for community on campus, attracting diverse groups of students, faculty, staff and administrators to a central location where they can connect and socialize over a shared meal.

The $40 million facility covers 82,000 square feet and is located at the intersection of Hilltop and Woodland Avenues, the 90-degree intersection from which the facility’s name was derived. Its proximity to much of the new housing on campus and accessibility from the academic core of campus make it a convenient destination for people from all walks of campus life.

The facility features a large, residential dining room with a wide variety of all-you-care-to-eat food stations including vegetarian, vegan and allergy-free options. A variety of popular retail venues with outdoor seating face Hilltop Avenue. Upstairs, state-of-the-art, technology-rich classrooms and meeting spaces add to the academic amenities available in this area of campus.

“The 90 has become an inextricable part of residential life on campus,” said Jeff Stivers, of RossTarrant Architects. “Earning LEED certification for a building that is used by such a broad cross-section of campus residents and visitors makes this a particularly public demonstration of the university’s longstanding commitment to environmental sustainability.”

The 90 earned LEED certification for implementing a wide variety of strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance. As a result, it consumes 26% less energy than other buildings of its type. The building’s HVAC system even monitors carbon monoxide levels and automatically introduces additional fresh air when needed to keep athletes healthier and more alert. The building has been carefully designed for optimum siting, shade and views for enhanced performance.

“Achieving LEED certification is more than implementing sustainable practices. It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. "Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, the University of Kentucky demonstrates their leadership through their LEED certification of The 90.”

LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 90,900 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising more than 19.3 square feet of construction space in all 50 states and more than 167 countries and territories.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.