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Amish 'recycle' former campus child care center

The M.U.M. Review
Maharishi University of Management, Iowa, USA
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24 May 2007

The latest step in the project to reconstruct the campus has taken an unusual twist: a group of Amish men dismantled the former child care center on north campus and will reuse all of the building materials and fixtures.

University graduate Amy Greenfield, who is now a principal in Greenfield Properties, was inspired to recycle rather than demolish the building because of her interest in sustainable building.

'In the LEED system [a national standard for green construction], an existing building needs to be recycled,' she said. The University had received help from the Amish in the past in recycling parts of buildings, so she decided to contact them to see if they'd be interested in dismantling the building in exchange for receiving all the materials for free.

'I went to preschool and kindergarten in that building, and I didn't want to see it go in a landfill,' Ms. Greenfield said.

The Amish were thrilled with the opportunity, she said, and the University is saving the tens of thousands of dollars it would have cost to demolish the structure. The Amish will reuse items such as the lumber and windows, and they have donated the electrical fixtures and appliances (which their culture disallows) to the farmers who transported them on site each day and who helped haul the materials (since the Amish don't drive).

They dismantled the building in less than a week, by hand, since they don't use power tools. They even rolled up the insulation for reuse.

Approximately 30 Amish were involved in the project. Ms. Greenfield said that a number of Amish communities that she contacted were interested. Those that weren't able to take advantage of the opportunity this time indicated that they'd like to participate in the future.

Although only new materials, fixtures, and appliances are used in new construction on campus, the University has tried to reuse or donate materials from previously demolished buildings as much as possible. 'This is the first time almost the entire building will be reused,' Ms. Greenfield said.

The site is going to be divided into lots to be used by faculty who are planning to build houses according to Maharishi Vedic(SM) architecture

Copyright © 2007, Maharishi University of Management

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