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NEW BUILDING: Students Create Hall Benches

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It's back to the books for students at colleges across the state. This year, there’s a new building on campus at Iowa State University. Troxel Hall opens today, with a special touch outside designed by students.

ISU Junior Ryan Bush says, "I'm actually very excited to get started again."

For eight Industrial Design students, they didn't get much of a break. Mitchell Hinrichsen says, "Working on these benches basically every day of the summer semester. And, then it continued past the summer semester."

The students researched, designed and produced seven benches located in front of the new Troxel Hall. Bush says, "We wanted something that would be comfortable."

The benches aren't just for sitting. The students had to finish the outdoor furniture before the fall semester began. Industrial Design Lecturer Will Prindle says, "They're actually a barrier to the wheelchair ramp, so these benches had to be in place for the hall to open."

The new state-of-the-art lecture hall is located next to the Farmhouse Museum and Horticulture Greenhouse. It will host large chemistry, biology and animal ecology classes for now. Project Manager Mark Grief says, "It's our understanding that in the future all classes could be scheduled in this classroom."

Troxel Hall has a 400 seat auditorium, utilizing what's called a fixed and flexible seating arrangement. Half the seats are flexible, meaning students can turn around the seats, so students can work together as a team. Grief says, "Basically they break those classes down. They give them a problem. They give those six individuals a chance to solve that problem. The instructor or T.A. will then wander through the classroom."

Students can also learn from the sustainable design. Signs point to the unique features around the building, including the student made benches.

Troxel Hall is designed to meet LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, standards. Project leaders are applying for a gold rating.