Donation Drives Florida Green Building Center

Donation Drives Florida Green Building Center

Florida Gulf Coast University is moving ahead with its plans for a green building center, thanks to a large donation from a company that creates luxury, master-planned communities.

WCI Communities, Inc., a Bonita Springs, Fla.-based developer, pitched in $350,000 to help the school launch the project. When it’s built, the WCI Green Building Demonstration and Learning Center will foster environmentally sustainable and healthy building, housing, and landscape practices in Southwest Florida through demonstration projects and educational outreach programs.

According to Roy Bonnell Jr., FGCU’s green building project manager, the new Green Building Learning Center will be home to undergraduate- and graduate-level environmental programs, and will showcase green building principles to architects, builders, tradespeople, landscape architects, loan officers, and potential homebuyers.

“The building itself will incorporate environmentally sustainable building practices,” Bonnell told GreenBiz. “It’ll have resource-efficient materials, environmentally friendly landscaping, water conservation systems, solar energy, non-toxic building materials, and recycling systems.”

Bonnell said the $1.2 million center likely would open early in 2003, pending approval of the college regents in July. Bonnell said he envisions a 5,000 to 6,000 square-foot facility, the centerpiece of "the environmental university of Florida.”

“We’re very excited; there are some big things going on down here,” Bonnell said.

FGCU also maintains a Small Business Innovation Center, a resource for new "green building" businesses.

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