Florida Gulf Coast University has completed construction of a 15-acre solar photovoltaic array that produces approximately 85 percent of the energy needed to operate its Engineering and Business School buildings, as well as AB-7, the science laboratory and classroom building for the College of Arts and Sciences. The University’s total reliance on Florida Power & Light Co. is reduced by 18 percent, thanks to the power generated by rows of solar panels that tilt and rotate as they “follow” the sun throughout the day.
FGCU’s property in Buckingham in eastern Lee County was acquired from the State of Florida as surplus land in 2010. The 500-acre gated site off Buckingham Road was long operated as Gulf Coast Center, a residential facility for people with development disabilities. FGCU’s Board of Trustees accepted the land donation after the state phased out such large-scale institutions in favor of smaller, community-based group homes.
Approximately 300 acres of the land are developed with paved roads and about 60 structures built mostly in the 1950s and ‘60s. They include residences that housed 300 people, a gymnasium, chapel, swimming pool, softball field, dining hall, water plant, laundry facilities and infirmary. The remainder of the property remains in its natural state.
In September 2011, FGCU’s University Recreation & Wellness staff opened on 10 acres of grassland amid pockets of pine uplands and oak hammocks at the complex. Funded by FGCU’s Student Government, the course includes rope-climbing exercises, a zip line and other challenging activities that are used by groups on retreat to build teamwork, trust, communication and fitness. A staff trained by University Recreation & Wellness’s RecVentures division books and supervises programs and maintains the site.
Facilities Planning is working with other university departments to identify feasible future uses for the Buckingham property, including short-term and long-term uses. Although most of the buildings are not currently being used, they are connected to water and sewer utilities. Located 18 miles north of the FGCU campus, the property could accommodate research facilities, renewable energy projects or other educational or recreational uses.
Art in State Buildings
"Art in State Buildings" is a State of Florida requirement for each academic building paid for with Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds. The requirement is to spend up to 0.5% of the construction cost for each building on public art. Each building’s art is determined by a unique committee and generally includes the President's representative, the architect for the building, a representative of the building faculty, and two other members of the art community in the Fort Myers area. A typical ASB committee first considers the type of project desired (exterior sculpture, interior sculpture, interior paintings, etc.). The committee then reviews proposals received from various artists interested in working on an ASB project with FGCU, who have responded to an advertised “Call to Artists.” Eventually, the committee selects which artist they want to work with for a particular project. The art work might be something already created by the selected artist, or a piece specifically designed for the project.
|Music||Mark Fuller||Exterior Wall Music||$33,900.00|
|Seidler Hall||Mark Fuller||Exterior Wall Sculpture||$70,200.00|
|Holmes Hall||Marta Hall||Interior Ceiling Suspended||$84,800.00|
|Lutgert Hall||Robert Roesch||5-Piece Courtyard Sculpture||$72,000.00|
|Sugden Hall||Harry McDaniel||Aluminum Sculpture in yard||$20,650.00|
|Sugden Hall||Clayton Swartz||Aluminum Sculpture in yard||$20,000.00|
|Library||Barbara Cooper||Interior Ceiling Suspended||$51,000.00|
|Marieb Hall||Michele Gutlove||Suspended Glass Sculpture||$61,050.00|
LEED Certified Buildings
Seidler Hall has obtained Platinum Certification through LEED.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a "green" building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. Florida Gulf Coast University has committed to a goal of Silver Certification for new major construction facilities. The following buildings have all achieved LEED Certification:
- Seidler Hall - Platinum Certified 2010
- Fine Arts 2 (Music) - Gold Certified 2011
- Marieb Hall - Gold Certified 2013
- Biscayne Hall - Silver Certified 2010
- Palmetto Hall- Silver Certified 2013
- Osprey Hall- Silver Certified 2015
- Eagle Hall- Silver Certified 2015
- Emergent Technologies Institute - Silver Certified 2017
- The Boardwalk at North Lake Village - Certified 2017
- University Recreation & Wellness Center – Silver Certified 2020
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