Memorial Union gets a green roof Ames Tribune

By Michael Crumb

Staff Writer

While most people did everything possible to dodge the wind and rain Friday morning, a group of as many as 50 volunteers braved the elements and climbed on a second-story roof at Iowa State University’s Memorial Union to lay down trays of flowers.

The weather didn’t deter the volunteers as they donned hardhats and climbed the scaffolding to the roof on the north side of the building to install a “green” roof.

“It’s not every day you get to install a green roof,” said Scott Solar, a 20-year-old horticulture major from Marion.

Solar is a member of ISU’s landscape and horticulture clubs and called the project “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

He didn’t mind the weather.

“I’ve worked landscape and nursery, and you get used to it,” Solar said.

Miles Thompson, a 22-year-old senior from Cedar Rapids studying horticulture, was supervising crews as they worked on the roof. He said the location was chosen because it is adjacent to one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the building.

A crew from Central States Roofing lifted large racks, with trays of plants, to the roof with a crane. More than 400 trays of plants were being arranged on the rooftop in a pattern so the red flowers create the image of a cyclone.

“It should be pretty fun,” said Kerry Dixon-Fox, project manager and coordinator of sustainable design construction at ISU.

The rooftop garden will slow storm run-off and clean the water that does drain from the roof, Dixon-Fox said.

“And it will be pretty to look at,” Thompson said.

Merry Rankin, ISU director of sustainability, said the project can also help reduce the “heat island effect.”

“If you don’t have a black roof you can reduce that,” Rankin said. “The more you reduce heat, it can be beneficial to that area.”

The roof, which measures about 15 feet by 60 feet, had to be replaced with a thicker membrane and new insulation before the plants were installed. Rock will be put down as a border around the plants.

The cost of the project is about $47,000, including $18,000 for the plants, Dixon-Fox said.

Funding came from the Government of Student Body and student fees.

Memorial Union gets a green roof Ames Tribune

It’s the fifth green roof on campus, Thompson said.

The others are the College of Design’s King Pavilion, State Gym, Horticulture Hall and the Bissell Road CyRide bus stop.

Michael Crumb can be reached at (515) 633-6961 or mcrumb@amestrib.com .

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