Largo Builds LEED-Certified Community Center

Largo is building a new community center at 400 Alternate Keene Road. And the building is slated to earn a gold LEED certification.

"We were shooting for the silver," says Joan Byrne, director of parks & recreation. "But it looks like we'll be getting the gold. This will be the first building in the city to get the gold rating."

According to Brian Usher, director of Largo's public works department, the building's construction employs a tilt-up method that requires that wall concrete be poured into a precast form and then lifted into place after it hardens. This technique increases building efficiency and reduces energy costs. But there is more to the construction that helped earn the gold rating.

The building's roof will have solar panels, and its mechanical systems are being designed with control systems that minimize operational costs and maximize efficiency. A rainwater irrigation system is planned, as well as landscaping using drought-hardy plants. The project is also using only local materials.

The community center replaces the facility that currently resides in Largo's redevelopment district. "Our current community center had a fire in 1998," explains Byrne. "So this building is a replacement that doubles the size and capacity of the original building."

The current community center, at 65 4th St. NW, will close and its location will be offered for urban development. Like its predecessor, the Keene facility will focus primarily on senior recreation and fitness by day and the arts in the afternoon and early evening. It will contain three studios with springboard floors, a ballroom, black box theater and several classrooms, among other amenities.

"We have had a cultural center with a strong arts program, but no room for classes. This building will provide room for those classes," says Byrne.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Joan Byrne, Largo Parks & Recreation; Brian Usher, Largo Public Works
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