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This Virginian-Pilot article describes how the Brock Environmental Center will be the greenest in Virginia.

“Education center designed to be greenest in Virginia”

By Kathy Adams / The Virginian-Pilot
© October 8, 2013

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation this morning plans to mark the start of construction at Pleasure House Point on a roughly $5 million environmental education center and office designed to be the greenest in the state.

With solar panels and two wind turbines, the approximately 10,000-square-foot Brock Environmental Center will generate all of the energy it needs, according to the foundation’s plans. With cisterns to collect rain, it is intended to gather all of the water it needs, too.

Special toilets will turn human waste into compost. Recycled champagne corks will serve as drawer-pulls. Bleachers thrown out by a local middle school will become trim for walls and doors. Rain gardens and a permeable parking lot will prevent runoff from polluting the adjacent Crab Creek, which flows into the Lynnhaven River.

The goal will be to have as little impact as possible on the environmentally sensitive plot and provide an example of green, sustainable building, said Christy Everett, the Hampton Roads director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, a nonprofit environmental group. The building will take up half an acre of the 118-acre preserve and will sit about 200 feet from the shore.

Pleasure House Point, located just west of the Lesner Bridge, is the last major plot of undeveloped land on the Lynnhaven River. The city and its partners, including the foundation, last year purchased it for $13 million and turned it into a preserve.

Some Beach residents have questioned the need to build on the site at all. Everett said an environmental center was always planned.

The center, named for Joan and Macon Brock, who helped pay for its construction, will provide office space for the foundation and Lynnhaven River Now, which looks after the river. It also will house the environmental groups’ education programs and offer community meeting space. A separate open-air pavilion will shade students on field trips.

The total project is priced at about $7.2 million.

The construction will be green, too, Everett said.

Barriers around the site prevent diamondback terrapins from nesting there during construction. Blueprints will display on a television screen instead of on paper. Tools will be powered by the sun.

Construction is slated to take nine months. Pleasure House Point will remain open to the public, Everett said. “It’s a very exciting milestone.”

See original Virginian-Pilot article here.

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