Learning Gate Community School

First LEED Platinum School

Services - LEED Certification

10,000 sq/ft $1,200,000

Learning Gate is in more of a country setting similar to a farm. The campus is not near any homes; it is about two miles from any subdivision. It gives the students a more country atmosphere for their learning environment similar to a summer camp, without the confines and of the traditional school setting. It adds to the Learning Gate philosophy of being sustainable and to use the surroundings in nature and building to educate the students about their environment.

The 27-acre campus consists of one-floor buildings owned by Hillsborough County. It is equipped with recycling and compost bins, rain barrels, and includes an organic garden, wetlands, gopher tortoise burrows, vermiculture colonies, a frog sanctuary and a bay grass nursery.

The school chose the use of prefab structures similar to existing campus buildings. Issues such as indoor air quality, acoustics, and natural lighting were a paramount concern. To optimize energy performance, the owner wanted to minimize artificial lighting, install high-efficient fixtures, and utilize natural day-lighting. In considering the HVAC systems, the school wanted it as efficient as possible and was interested in pushing the envelope in this area. In specifying the equipment, first cost as well as long-term energy consumption was considered. Humidity control was incorporated to ensure occupant comfort. The HVAC systems were designed and tested to be properly sized for the project, reducing the energy consumption needed to cool the facility. Photovoltaic panels supply electricity for the facility. Water savings is a priority; a cistern was installed for rain and grey water harvesting, which can be used for irrigation and waste transportation. Low-flow fixtures were installed throughout for this project.