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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

In 2009, the City of Largo initiated a project to construct a new community center. This new facility is a multi-purpose complex, serving senior citizens and local arts groups, and hosting community events. At the initiation of design, the City Commission directed the building be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, the first such endeavor by the City. The Commission also directed that the building incorporate design elements and increase capacity to provide more services to the residents of Largo, while minimizing operating costs.

The City contracted with Wannemacher Jensen Architects (WJA) of St. Petersburg, Florida to achieve the goals established by the City Commission. WJA is a local firm with a reputation for innovative design and substantial experience with recreation centers for local governments and universities. The City also elected the construction manager at risk (CM) method of project delivery in order to promote a strong design and construction team, resulting in construction documents acceptable to all parties and a guaranteed maximum price prior to the start of construction. The City selected Creative Contractors, Inc. of Clearwater, Florida as the CM due to their skills and experience in the regional marketplace.

The design team utilized a "Community Design" process to determine the needs of current patrons, and anticipate future demands, for incorporation into the design. The process accounted for multiple meetings within the community, allowing for inclusion of ideas from City staff, neighbors, patrons and user groups. The results of these meetings were coupled with a variety of design concepts to develop a truly unique facility for the City, to include:

  • Facility size is increased from approximately 20,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet; however, the design does not require additional staffing to operate the facility.
  • Rooftop photovoltaic panels installed through the federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) program, offsetting an estimated 15.78% of electric consumption per year.
  • Use of unpaved parking spaces, Xeriscaping and reclaimed water to minimize demands for potable water.
  • Incorporation of new sidewalks and connection to an urban trail system to promote alternative forms of transportation and interconnection of community assets.
  • Construction to 140 mph wind loads and Installation of a blended fuel generator for use as an employee shelter during emergencies.
  • A new Auditorium, Dance Rooms, Arts Room and Fitness Room for programming to meet the demographics of the Center's patrons.
  • A park with historic oak trees, a gazebo and areas for Community Gardening
  • Multi-model transportation amenities including a new PSTA Bus Stop, Bike Racks, and Golf Cart Parking.

The resulting facility has achieved a LEED certification of Platinum. The facility has been constructed with the intent of being a signature building for the community, as well as incorporating innovative technologies and design/construction practices including: sustainable practices to achieve LEED Certification, recreational amenities for Seniors, input from Community Groups, and a connection to the Natural Environment surrounding the new site. It is a true Community Center - a place for the citizens of Largo to call home.