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MEDIA CONTACT: Sherry Thomas
561-297-2328, sthomas@fau.edu

                            

Palm Beach School District and FAU Break Ground for New "Green" Elementary School and Pine Jog Facility

            BOCA RATON, FL (April 11, 2007) – Leaders from Florida Atlantic University and the Palm Beach County School District broke ground today for Florida’s first “green” elementary school and a new facility for the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center.   The school, scheduled to open no later than August 2008, will have an environmental focus, using the Pine Jog site as an outdoor classroom.  

            The facility will be the first public elementary school in the state to become certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a “green” building.  LEED is the set of standards developed by the U.S. Green Architecture Council to classify commercial and institutional buildings as “green.”   To qualify, buildings must satisfy all required elements and earn credits for water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, sustainable site, indoor environmental quality and materials and resources, and innovation and design.   The school will be the first in the state to receive a LEED rating and will be among only a dozen public schools in the nation to be LEED certified.

The green elements of the building, as well as the natural areas of Pine Jog, will become an integral part of the school curriculum.   Building upon a forty year partnership between Pine Jog and the school system, the school district will build a 15,000 square foot facility for the Pine Jog Environmental Education Center and by agreement will share school facilities with Pine Jog.   The school will have connections to the academic programs and resources of FAU and will provide professional development opportunities for teachers and practicum experiences for FAU students.   

“Pine Jog’s mission has always been one of environmental education,” said FAU President Frank T. Brogan.   “This elementary school and the Pine Jog facility will both provide an excellent opportunity to impact a large population with environmentally focused curriculum and learning experiences.”

Pine Jog is a designated wilderness sanctuary surrounded by suburban development on Summit Boulevard in West Palm Beach.   In 1960, the property was donated to educate young people about their natural environment and instill in them a feeling of stewardship.  Since 1970, the property has been affiliated with FAU.   Fifteen of the total 150 acres has been leased by the FAU Foundation to the school district for the new school. The school and Pine Jog facility will be located within the fifteen acres with the remaining acreage to continue to be a resource for the greater community of Palm Beach to enjoy.  

The first green elementary school and new Pine Jog facility are a result of a significant collaboration between the Palm Beach County School District, FAU, the FAU Foundation and Pine Jog Environmental Education Center.   The groundbreaking event was made possible through the support of Pirtle Construction Company, Royal Concrete and Zyscovich.

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Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida.   Today, the University serves 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses strategically located along 150 miles of Florida’s southeastern coastline.   Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university, with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts nine colleges:   the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, and the Colleges of Business, Education, Engineering & Computer Science, and Architecture, Urban & Public Affairs.

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