Wright Hall opened in January 2005 as Alma College’s “green” residence hall. The 60-bed, apartment-style complex was designed with student input to be a model of environmental sustainability. Elements of the building’s design came from teams of students competing for the 2003 Kapp Honors Day Prize that focused on sustainability in the new residence hall.
The building is designed for four students in 15 double and single units equipped with private baths, living rooms and kitchens. Single-unit occupants have their own bedrooms while double-unit occupants share a two-person bedroom.
Kitchens in each apartment have complete cooking, cleaning and food storage facilities. A microwave heats the fast meal or late-night snack for busy students. Unit bathrooms are large enough so, with cooperation, two students can get ready for class at the same time.
Wright Hall also has rooms set aside for student collaboration. A Commons Area provides a venue for social activities and a place for student poets, musicians, actors and artists to showcase their talents. A carpeted laundry room features floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable chairs. Game rooms provide breaks from study.
While the new design considered the architecture of the former 1902 Wright Hall structure that was retired in 1976, technology has far outpaced the electric lighting and porcelain-lined bathtubs that made the old Wright Hall such an impressive place to live.
Many materials are low emission and operable windows provide air quality and flow. Rooms were designed with energy-efficient window glass to allow optimal natural sunlight for an airy atmosphere that is energy efficient.
A geothermal heat pump provides heating and cooling, a process that saves the College from using an estimated 34,000 BTUs per square foot per year of natural gas. Solar panels installed on thh south side capture heat that ties into the hot water system. Low-flow showerheads, low-volume flush toilets and energy-efficient washing machines reduce water usage.
Tiled carpeting instead of rolled products allows selective, easy replacement in traffic patterns and high-usage areas. The building also features a computerized energy monitoring system. Furthermore many of the construction materials consisted of recycled products.