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Energy-efficient renovations transform Clatsop Community College's historic Patriot Hall


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Clatsop Community College anticipates Patriot Hall saving more than $25,000 a year in energy costs compared to similar buildings.

Clatsop Community College sits atop a steep hill looking out over Astoria, Oregon, and the Columbia River. The view is incredible, but the wow factor doesn’t stop there. The campus has been revitalized with a series of energy-efficient renovations. The most recent is Patriot Hall, a health and fitness center so cutting edge that it uses 70 percent less energy than standard building of its type.

Two outer walls, as well as a historic plaque paying tribute to Clatsop County soldiers of all wars, are all that remain of the old Patriot Hall, built in 1921. The rest is a completely reimagined space that offers a new central hub for more than 2,000 students and the community to gather, exercise and learn.



To make this project a reality, the school sought funding through local bonds and enrolled in Energy Trust of Oregon’s Path to Net Zero offering, which provides financial and technical support to projects pursuing net-zero energy use. SRG Architects and PAE Engineering led the design team.

For Chris Breitmeyer, president of Clatsop Community College, the decision to build with ambitious energy-saving goals in mind was an easy one for the school. Energy efficiency not only lowers operating costs significantly, but also shows the community that its money is being well spent.

“It’s so important for us to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and the environment,” said Breitmeyer. “As a community college, we need to be the place where people look and say, ‘Hey, they’re doing it right.’ And we want to be that example for Clatsop County and Astoria.”

The community was proud of the energy efficiency already happening on campus, and Energy Trust provided technical support and incentives to take Patriot Hall even further. “Path to Net Zero was ideal for this project. We really wanted to be a part of it because we realized how efficient the building could be,” said Kent Duffey, principal at SRG. 

Daylighting, natural ventilation, low-speed ceiling fans, solar water heating and many other features work in harmony to make the space comfortable and airy, while helping the campus reduce energy costs. This is a huge achievement for a gym that has a three-story open space, classrooms and multiple pieces of exercise equipment. Based on energy models, the college anticipates Patriot Hall saving more than $25,000 a year in energy costs compared to similar buildings.


Perhaps most importantly, Clatsop students and the people of Astoria now have a beautiful gathering space that embodies the values of the college and the community. And of course, that view doesn’t hurt, either. 

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