Saint Martin’s community gathers to break ground on new ‘green’ building

July 19, 2011

LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University officially broke ground this afternoon on a three-story, 25,000-square-foot facility to house the University’s School of Engineering. A group of more than 220 guests gathered on the Lacey campus to celebrate the kick-off of construction for the new building.

The University plans to seek Platinum certification within the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, the highest ranking available. The certification, granted by the U.S. Green Building Council, reflects commitment to sustainability, water efficiency, energy usage, materials and air quality. Key energy features in Saint Martin’s new engineering building will include a solar array system, radiant flooring, optimized energy utilization, a heat recovery system, a green roof, and an underground geo-thermal loop for heating, ventilation and cooling.

According to Zella Kahn-Jetter, Ph.D., P.E., dean of the School of Engineering, University leaders believe Saint Martin’s engineering students and graduates play a significant role in the development and pursuit of environmentally responsible systems, habitats, tools and lifestyles.

“The decision to pursue Platinum LEED certification is in keeping with the Benedictine value of stewardship,” Kahn-Jetter explained at the groundbreaking. “It is our responsibility to be respectful and resourceful in our commitment to protecting the environment and appreciate the beauty of our natural surroundings.”

At the ceremony, it was announced that the new facility will inherit the name of the existing engineering building, Cebula Hall. Named for Fr. Richard Cebula, O.S.B., the Benedictine priest who laid the foundation for Saint Martin’s School of Engineering six decades ago, the “new” Cebula Hall will honor the institution’s rich tradition of engineering education. Saint Martin’s supporters, particularly engineering alumni, credit Fr. Cebula for envisioning — then successfully building — a program designed to cultivate skilled, forward-thinking and ethical engineers eager to contribute to their communities.

The new building will provide more than double the useable square footage of the current Cebula Hall. Offering innovative classroom and laboratory spaces, Cebula Hall will be a showcase for the application of engineering science, not only for Saint Martin’s students but also for practicing engineers in the South Sound.

“This building isn’t only for those of us here at Saint Martin’s University,” said Kahn-Jetter. “It is for the entire community. We want to share our home with our neighbors. This will really be something special for all of us.”

State-of-the-art features and systems will set the stage for enhanced cross-discipline, collaborative and community learning. Structural and mechanical components of the building will be exposed, and solar panels will be accessible via rooftop studios — allowing students and visitors to observe firsthand critical concepts and theories at work.

The construction of the new Cebula Hall is part of Saint Martin’s Engineering Initiative, launched in February 2011 to attract new students and further enhance the school’s world-class reputation. As part of the Initiative, the University set a goal of raising $7 million to construct the new building. At present, Saint Martin’s is nearing the $6 million mark.

Saint Martin’s University President Roy F. Heynderickx, Ph.D., praised the efforts of supporters and past leaders who have helped build a foundation for the University’s recent progress. “Still,” Heynderickx reminded the crowd, “we have much more work to do.”

The new facility will be built on the northwest section of campus, west of O'Grady Library and north of Kreielsheimer Hall. Its construction will complete an academic quadrangle, or “quad,” on campus, creating a much-anticipated community space for students, staff, faculty and visitors.

The Saint Martin’s School of Engineering is the only baccalaureate and graduate degree-granting engineering program in the South Sound. Since its inception, the school has graduated more than 1,300 students in mechanical and civil engineering.

The design and construction team for the new building includes: McGranahan Architects; Berschauer Phillips Construction Company; Shea, Carr & Jewell, Inc.; PCS Structural Solutions; and Sunset Air. To follow the progress of the construction of Cebula Hall, please visit:

For more information:

Katie Wojke 
Assistant vice president of institutional advancement 

Jennifer Fellinger
Vice president of marketing and communications