Director of Media Relations, University Communications
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo., May 15, 2009 — Drury University broke ground on the O'Reilly Family Event Center today and honored the O'Reilly family for making this major addition to the campus and community possible.
At the groundbreaking ceremony it was also announced that the O’Reilly Family Event Center will be designed to achieve Gold LEED (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design) certification thanks to a $600,000 gift from the Pitt family of Springfield. The gift is in honor of their father, William A. Pitt.
The original design called for the arena to be built to a minimum Silver LEED certification; the additional funding means Drury will construct the arena with the goal of achieving LEED Gold. Following construction, the O’Reilly Family Event Center's sustainability features will be evaluated and the United States Green Building Council will assign it a LEED classification.
“This is the latest in a string of commitments to sustainability in our community,” says Todd Parnell, President of Drury University. “ We are grateful to the Pitt family for helping us reach a higher level in environmental excellence.”
The playing surface of the 3,100-seat arena will be named the William A. Pitt Court after the long-time Springfield businessman. An Oklahoma native, Bill Pitt came to Springfield in the mid-1960s to work in the trucking industry. More recently he's worked in several entrepreneurial activities including technology and real estate. Throughout the years, Pitt has been a loyal fan of Springfield's sports teams and is an avid golfer.
The number of environmental and sustainable features used in a project determines LEED certification. The O'Reilly Family Event Center will be built with sustainable features such as: low flow water fixtures, a dedicated recycling area and a solar reflective roof and pavement materials.
“The construction of the O'Reilly Family Event Center on Drury's campus will give our students the opportunity to witness the construction of a Gold LEED certified commercial building and could provide them more opportunities for LEED design and build in the future,” says Parnell.
Springfield is home to several LEED certified buildings, including the LEED Platinum Green Circle Shopping Center, the LEED Gold Discovery Center and a LEED Platinum Habitat for Humanity home designed and built by Drury architecture students and faculty.