Tacoma Community College Early Learning Center

The Annette B. Weyerhaeuser Early Learning Center (ELC) at Tacoma Community College (TCC) serves children of TCC students on an income-based sliding scale. The new center nearly doubles the previous capacity for child care on campus, accommodating 86 children ages 1 month to five years old. The building was awarded LEED Gold for being built to achieve optimal energy performance, 30 percent water use reduction, and for recycling 75% of construction waste materials. It is the first LEED certified building on the TCC campus, but is an important part of a campus-wide sustainability initiative.

Although many participants of the project had previous experience with sustainable building, O’Brien & Company provided value by working with the project team throughout the process to ensure sustainability goals were met. First, we planned and facilitated a half-day charrette with the project team to identify project goals, select appropriate strategies to reach those goals, and assess the value and level of certification. Throughout the project, our staff provided LEED Technical Assistance which included participating in regular short phone calls with the architect to provide guidance on implementing LEED in the design. We also provided specification reviews during design development, and reviewed the LEED submittals and documentation of everyone on the design and construction team.

O’Brien & Company also directly helped the project achieve two points in the form of Innovation credits. Because young children are especially sensitive to chemicals, it was very important to the owner to have a Green Housekeeping plan to specify the types of cleaning products that could be used in the space. O’Brien & Company provided support to TCC’s custodial manager in documenting her plan so that it was sufficiently detailed and likely to be accepted by the US Green Building Council. Another point was earned with O’Brien & Company’s support in working with the ELC’s director to develop a sustainability curriculum for the children as part of an Education Plan. Our staff also developed a marketing brochure and building signage to meet additional Education Plan requirements.