Lehigh University’s newly opened STEPS building was honored this week at the 17th Annual March of Dimes’ Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Awards breakfast at the Best Western Lehigh Valley Conference Center. Lehigh President Alice P. Gast accepted the Project of the Year award for the $62.1 million “green” facility that fosters interdisciplinary teaching, learning and research.
Gast said that she was gratified by the acknowledgement of the STEPS building, which combines various disciplines to work on some of the world’s most challenging problems. “We are already doing that through the efforts of various individuals at Lehigh,” she said. “And we are already getting rave reviews for the magnificent labs, classrooms and meeting spaces the new STEPS building provides.”
She said the appeal of the 135,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility is enhanced further by the site-specific artwork created by Larry Kirkland, the Washington, D.C.-based artist who conceptualized and created several design elements, including a soaring, multi-story glass etching of a majestic tree at one of the building’s main entrances.
Also notable, Gast said, are the opportunities the STEPS building and programs can offer to its South Bethlehem neighborhood and, in particular, to Broughal Middle School.
Gast encouraged the nearly 400 in attendance to come to campus to tour the new STEPS building, which was constructed with the goal of attaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the gold standard for sustainable architecture in the U.S.
She acknowledged the extraordinary work of the STEPS building architectural firm, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), construction manager Alvin H. Butz, Inc., and of Lehigh colleagues in the office of Facilities Services and Campus Planning: Associate Vice President Tony Corallo and Director Pat Chase.
Also honored at the breakfast was Joseph A. Fitzpatrick, Jr., founder of the Lehigh County law firm of Fitzpatrick Lentz & Bubba, PC.
The annual March of Dimes breakfast raises funds to provide research funding and assistance to benefit the nearly one half million babies born prematurely each year, and who struggle with the resulting lifelong health issues.
The mid-October breakfast alone raised $64,000, according to Peter Snik, executive vice president of Lafayette Ambassador Bank and chair of the event. Since the breakfasts began 17 years ago, the organization has raised nearly $600,000 for the March of Dimes.