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Frederick E. Terman Engineering Center is gone, but not lost

The Department of Project Management diverted 99.6 percent of the demolished Terman Engineering Center from landfill through recycling or reuse.
The former site of the Terman Engineering Center is being landscaped to provide a temporary open space beginning in May. | Photo by L.A. Cicero

The Frederick E. Terman Engineering Center may be gone, but it isn't lost. In fact, you can find bits and pieces of it throughout campus.

According to project manager Matthew Griffis, 99.6 percent of the demolished building on Panama Mall, named for the late Stanford provost, has been diverted from landfill through either recycling or reuse.

The Terman Center's roof tiles will become the roof of the new recreation center being constructed on Santa Teresa Street on the far west side of Roble Field. The distinctive louvered exterior shutters will be used in the renovation of a Stanford Research Park building. Chairs from Terman Auditorium will be refurbished and installed in the new Bioengineering/Chemical Engineering Building in the Science and Engineering Quadrangle. 

The Department of Project Management (DPM), working with the Office of Sustainability, has found a new home or use for just about everything from the generator to the concrete pavers to the fire alarm equipment.

Stanford has paid special attention to demolition recycling since 2009, according to Fahmida Ahmed, associate director of the Office of Sustainability, ensuring all contractors adhere to the university's high demolition recycling expectations. The efforts have helped increase the university's landfill diversion rate from 60 percent in 2007-08 to 64 percent in 2010-11.

New landscaping

Parts of the building, which was dedicated in 1977 and recently torn down, are being used immediately to landscape the resulting empty lot. That area will become home to a new academic building in the near future.

But in the meantime, rather than leave a large, closed-off dirt area, the university is landscaping the lot to provide a temporary open space beginning in May.

Visitors to the area will descend one of two staircases that will lead to the refurbished Terman Fountain, a shallow, rectangular pool that remained relatively hidden while the Terman Center was there. The fountain will be surrounded by benches created from salvaged Terman Center wood beams and outdoor lamps that were once used to light the building.

The university will leave the area steeply sloped to save on excavation costs that would otherwise be incurred when the area once again houses an academic building. Although steeply sloped, the area will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and suitable for small gatherings  as well as quiet contemplation.

DPM also took great pains to preserve a rose garden dedicated to the late Dunja Grbic-Galic, who was a faculty member in civil and environmental engineering until her death in 1993. The garden, located behind Terman, was relocated to beside the nearby Thornton Center, and the original roses have been preserved for reuse.

Solar Decathlon

To the east of the empty lot - across the Lomita walkway - is a rectangular vacant area that once housed the Stanford Daily and other student publications, as well as the Stanford University Press. It will ultimately be landscaped to create a recreational turf area, although following the completion of the Terman landscaping, it may be temporarily filled with mulch salvaged from the Stanford Hospitals' renovation project. The temporary mulching will allow use of the area for the solar house being built by the student Stanford Energy Club as part of the Solar Decathlon competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The Stanford team was one of 20 selected by DOE in January to participate in the biennial competition. The contest offers teams $100,000 in seed money to design, build and operate solar-powered homes. The Stanford team will initially construct the building on campus and then reconstruct it as part of the national competition in Orange County in 2013.

The Stanford house will be 1,000 square feet, solar-powered and designed to incorporate modular construction and Silicon Valley technology, according to student Derek Ouyang.

"We are really thrilled to have this kind of central construction site while we are building our house on campus because the entire Stanford community will be able to engage in the project," he said. "The future location and use of the house is still uncertain, but you can expect the Terman location to be full of activity and excitement between February and September of 2013!"