Three cheers to the North County Daughters of Charity!
They combined their order’s mission of serving the disadvantaged with their goal of stewardship of the earth—all in one project, the Seton Center.
The Seton Center, a community center providing job training and preparation, dental services, a secondhand store and community meeting space among other services, opened its new building this year as a sustainable project featuring:
*energy conservation measures
*low-flow toilets and other water conservation resources
The building houses eight office where 11 staff members work, as well as space for social services and job training agencies who need a meeting place in the North County to meet.
The Center began in 1969 at its building outside of town—a building that was only supposed to last 10 years, but lasted until 2017. A new center was needed to replace the deteriorating steel structure, and the order decided to use a piece of the property originally left to them in 1809 by Elizabeth Ann Seton, rather than go through an annexation process on the old county land.
They decided from the get-go to go green.
“Its in the mission of the daughters of Charity to care for the earth,” said Sister Martha Beaudoin, executive director of the Seton Center. The religious order around the world is 16000 strong, with presence in 93 countries, and is known for projects such as digging wells and working on clean water. “This project goes with what the sisters have done in the other countries.”
The sisters have also watched the sustainability achievements of Mayor Don Briggs and the Emmitsburg town staff, and wanted to get on board with their own facility!
They instructed Morgan-Keller, the general contractor, and their architect, Scott Bowen of Washington County, to find cost-effective, sustainable solutions, and felt that they did good work in bringing the building in on budget with its sustainable elements.
And its working – Sister Martha says even with the larger (13,000 square foot), and differently shaped building, “The electric bill used to be $1,300 a month; now its $800 a month!”