16 Oct 2019 Collaboratory earns LEED GOLD certification
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s Collaboratory located at 2031 Jackson Street, Suite 100 in Fort Myers has achieved LEED GOLD certification using the LEED v4 Building Design + Construction: New Construction rating system.
Collaboratory is a public-private partnership of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation and the City of Fort Myers. The transformation of the former Atlantic Coast Railway Depot and construction of the LEED addition creates a 24,000 square-foot campus that includes the Foundation’s regional headquarters, vibrant spaces for work, gatherings and special events to be used by the community and tenants, and state-of-the-art technology that encourages regional collaboration.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see a project that doesn’t just succeed as a high-performance facility, but is designed to actively educate everyone that visits on how they can achieve the same here in Southwest Florida,” said Chris Ressler, president of the SWFL branch of the U.S. Green Building Council. “This combination of performance and education is exactly what LEED and the USGBC stand for.”
Collaboratory earned significant points toward certification for the following building aspects: Performance Based Air Quality Design & Assessment by including a smart air scrubber system into the HVAC systems; committing to the reuse of the Historic Atlantic Coast Line Train Station; achieving zero rainwater run off through the combination of permeable paving and rain gardens; high efficient water usage plumbing fixtures and overall energy use optimization.
“We hope this building and its LEED Gold designation can be an example and inspiration to others to make the investment in sustainable building design,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “The up front costs more than pay off in both commitment to the mission and the money poured back into the community from decades of savings down the road.”
In January 2017, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation closed on a $10 million New Market Tax Credit (that encourages economic development in distressed neighborhoods) to be used to restore the historic Atlantic Coast Line railroad station and build a technology hub and headquarters in a historic neighborhood of Fort Myers.
In October 2018, the Community Foundation and the City of Fort Myers held a public grand opening for the new Collaboratory showing how they successfully transformed the old downtown train depot while maintaining the site’s heritage. Instead of a depot sitting vacant or tearing it down and creating a new footprint, they used the old footprint and added to it to be sustainable.
Today, Collaboratory is fully leased with tenants including Ecomedes, SWFL Children’s Charities, The Ingenuity Lab, SecondMuse and Captains for Clean Water. More than 1000 meetings and events have taken place at Collaboratory since its opening.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building, community and home project types, LEED provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. Projects pursuing LEED certification earn points across several categories: Location & Transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation and more. Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. The process is designed to inspire project teams to seek innovative solutions that support public health and our environment, while saving building owners money over a project’s life cycle.
The Atlantic Coast Line railway station at 2031 Jackson Street was presented to the City on Feb. 4, 1924, the same year Fort Myers was poised to join the Florida real estate boom of the 1920s. In the face of shrinking revenues, the Seaboard Coast Line (which had merged with ACL) sold its track and discontinued all passenger service into Fort Myers and closed the station in 1971. After sitting empty for a decade, the Southwest Florida Museum of History opened on the site in 1982. In 2015, the museum merged with the Imaginarium Science Center and recently moved physically to the Imaginarium’s site at Cranford Ave.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, founded in 1976, cultivates regional change for the common good through collective leadership, social innovation and philanthropy to address the evolving community needs in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Foundation partners with individuals, families and corporations who have created more than 400 philanthropic funds. Thanks to them, the Foundation invested $6.8 million in grants and programs to the community. With assets of more than $126 million, it has provided $78.2 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves since inception. The Foundation is the backbone organization for the regional FutureMakers Coalition and Lee County’s Sustainability Plan. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s regional headquarters are now located in the historic ACL Train Depot at Collaboratory in downtown Fort Myers, with a satellite office located in LaBelle (Hendry County). For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com