City of Mesa, BenU recognized for environmental innovations

The City of Mesa received an Award of Merit for transforming a one-time hospital into a Catholic university. (courtesy photo)
The City of Mesa received an Award of Merit for transforming a one-time hospital into a Catholic university. (courtesy photo)

Benedictine University at Mesa’s main campus building, Gillett Hall, once welcomed new life into the world as the former Southside Hospital. It now welcomes students entering a new chapter of their life.

Arizona Forward recognized the transformation with an Environmental Excellence Award of Merit for the City of Mesa in its Buildings and Structures — Historic Preservation category. The annual recognition program is in partnership with SRP to honor environmental excellence in sustainability.

Mesa’s award allows the university to share the honor of forging one of the best adaptive reuse collaborations in Arizona. Benedictine University’s Gillett Hall, located at 225 E. Main St., underwent a $10 million, yearlong renovation before opening to classes in September 2013.

City officials attributed the award to the joint effort between the City of Mesa and Benedictine to not only maintain much of the historical context surrounding the building but to also create a sustainable end product. Gillett Hall features automatic lighting shutoffs, recycled materials and energy-efficient lamps and houses classrooms, nutrition and computer labs, faculty and administrative offices, a community room, chapel and spirit store.

“I am thrilled that the partnership between the City of Mesa and Benedictine University to keep this historic property an important part of our downtown has been recognized,” said Mesa Vice Mayor Chris Glover, who accepted the award.


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Full list of winners[/quote_box_right]He said the award put the partnership on full display and honored the hard work both parties put into the transformation. Glover called it a testament to the two organizations’ commitment to making Mesa a great place to live and work.

Mesa was among 24 Awards of Merit that Arizona Forward bestowed on projects that set standards for achieving a balance between the built and natural environment. There were 20 first place awards.


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