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 Rogers Park Golf Course and the Hillborough River from above. - Julie Branaman
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Sarasota : Development News

69 Sarasota Articles | Page: | Show All

USFSM Ushers In Scientific Renaissance With Mote Partnership, New Science Labs, Biology Major

The STEM curriculum is a rapidly evolving organism at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. On Oct. 17, USFSM held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new science labs at Mote Marine Laboratories and announced that a new undergraduate major will be offered in biology at the university starting next fall.

Willis A. Smith Construction oversaw the development of a biology lab, chemistry lab and student teaching area in a pre-existing 4,600-square-foot research facility on the Mote Marine campus. Designed by Fawley-Bryant Architects, each lab includes 26 student stations that are served by laboratory gas and fume snorkels. An additional laboratory prep area serving both the biology and chemistry labs houses high-tech research tools including autoclaves, incubators, sub-zero freezers and student safety stations.

The $1.5 million project was funded by private donors, foundations and grants that covered the cost of construction as well as the purchase of lab equipment. Construction took place between the months of March and August, 2013, when the labs welcomed its first batch of undergraduate students.

Dr. Jane Rose,  Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at USFSM, says that students will not only receive valuable hands-on access to state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, but they will also benefit from one-on-one face-time with world-class researchers and teaching scientists who partner with the university from 22 diverse research programs at Mote Marine.

"While the partnership was developed as a way for the university just to get into the sciences, it has enabled us to do so in very a special way, and to make a contribution to the whole state repertoire of science programs. Most importantly, it's a chance to really serve our students from the Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte County region,'' says Rose.

The new state-of-the-art laboratories at Mote Marine and B.S. Biology program for undergraduate students are integral elements in USFSM’s transition into a full four-year institution of higher learning, which began in August when the university welcomed its first class of incoming freshmen.

The biology program is in its pilot year at the university. The degree program does not officially launch until Fall 2014, but current students can declare a biology major and begin to pursue pre-requisite coursework in the biology field at any time. A small group of students began attending classes in the labs when the Fall 2013 semester commenced in August.

"Florida offers many undergraduate biology degrees, but none of them will be quite like ours. In most major universities, the research faculty generally delivers the lecture section to auditoriums filled with hundreds of students, but it's graduate students who are teaching the labs. Undergrad students don't get to know the real research faculty well until they've advanced in their degree or until they're graduate students, which comes down to a class size issue. Our classes will be intentionally small so that students have close working relationships with the research faculty as early as their freshman year,'' Rose says.

"Whether it's a Mote Marine researcher or our faculty leading the students, they will not only be delivering the lecture portion of the courses, but they will also be in the labs working with those students, which will make the labs much more significant. Many people would argue that where scientists really learn is in the lab components of their courses,'' Rose adds.

Rose says that prior to the introduction of the B.S. in biology program, there was no biology degree available for public university students in the Sarasota-Manatee-Charlotte region.

"These students will be be at an advantage because they have had so much meaningful lab experience right from the beginning of their college careers. They will be competitive in entry level lab jobs in medical field and in industrial research and development with their undergraduate degrees, but more importantly, most careers in the sciences do involved graduate study. Students working in our research labs will be well-prepared for that,'' Rose says.

"Now, not only can you stay here to get a biology degree, but you can stay here to get a biology degree to be envied.''

Writer: Jessi Smith
Source: Jane Rose, USFSM

Sarasota's Selby Gardens Flourishes With Renovations

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is abloom with renovations and upgrades designed to modernize and heighten the aesthetic quality of the beloved Sarasota landmark.

The Great Room by the Bay, the organization's private event venue and meeting facility, received a "floor-to-ceiling'' cosmetic makeover this summer, thanks to financial assistance from Selby Board Trustee Sandy Rederer, as well as in-kind services provided by Fawley Bryant Architects, Tandem Construction and Milton Shenk LLC.

The 3,600-square-foot facility, which features 60-foot-high west-facing windows with stunning sunset views of Sarasota Bay, has been a popular destination for weddings, parties and other private events since its construction in the late 1980s, but Rederer and the Selby staff felt that the space was in need of a cosmetic upgrade.

"It was just really dated and really needed a face lift,'' says Sarah Colandro, Director of Interiors at Fawley Bryant. "We wanted to capitalize on the architecture already there, but to neutralize the space and take out the outdated aspects like the patterned carpet and the wood beams, doors and trim that showed the age of the building.''

Renovations to the Great Room began in July, 2013, and were completed in August. The design and construction team replaced the outdated patterned carpet with new high-performance flooring in a neutral shade of charcoal that is versatile enough to complement a variety of themed decor, while the walls and ceiling received a makeover including new light fixtures, ceiling tiles and fire sprinklers, as well as a fresh, white finish to brighten the room and accommodate any event style. Upgrades were also made to lighting and fixtures in the restroom area.

The most visually intriguing aspect of the $121,000 renovation project is the addition of floating, illuminated white fabric kites that are assembled in the ceiling alcove of the Great Room. The kites can be accented with colored spotlight lenses for drama and effect during themed weddings and parties.

"These improvements will help Selby Gardens remain competitive and successful in attracting prime wedding and event rental income,'' says Selby Gardens CEO Thomas Butcher. "The revenue from private functions provides much needed support for ongoing operations.''

In addition to the renovations in the Great Room, a second construction team took advantage of the Selby Botanical Gardens' slow summer season to work on the highly anticipated Ann Goldstein Children's Rainforest, which is scheduled to open in early November.

The Ann Goldstein Children's Garden at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will include an educational waterfall and forest pool where all ages can learn about aquatic ecosystems and rainforest plants, a canopy walk and rope bridge, an epiphyte canyon full of rocks and the unique plants that grow on them, a research station that features field botany techniques and gadgets, as well as an amphitheatre, classroom and special exhibition spaces in the Rainforest Village.

The project is funded by donations from community foundations, including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and other private donors, including Sarasota Philanthropist Al Goldstein, who contributed the lead naming gift to initiate the project, following his wife's death in 2011.

Hazeltine Nurseries, Tandem Construction and Milton Shenk LLC collaborated on the design and construction of the educational rainforest garden. The $5 million project began construction on March 1, 2013 and is scheduled for completion this fall. The Children's Rainforest will open to the public on November 9, 2013.

Writer: Jessi Smith
Source: Sandy Rederer and Thomas Butcher, Selby Gardens; Sarah Colandro, Fawley Bryant

New Home Interior Design Store Coming To Sarasota

Downtown Sarasota will soon have a new home interior design store.

Featuring 2,200 square feet of elegant, uncommon and artisan home furnishings for local beach and waterfront resort homes in Sarasota, Pecky will become an addition to the Starbucks and Whole Foods development located on 100 Central Ave. in Sarasota. A a grand opening and open house will be held on April 3rd and 4th.

“Our recovered lumber business of cypress, black cypress, pecky cypress and heart pine was an instigator of the store's formation,” says Owner Patricia Estes, who operates the store along with her husband, Peter. Pecky cypress wood will be seen throughout the store, recovered by Estes Recovered Lumber.

Offering an abundance of classic, liveable wood furniture; wall and ceiling applications; and linen sofas and chairs, Estes says Pecky's new showroom will offer several lines of home furnishings new to Sarasota and the surrounding area.

“If you are looking for an upscale, relaxed, quality, earth-friendly feeling for your beach abode, Pecky is where you want to start,” Estes says. “The store will hopefully fulfill an element of quality and design-driven décor for our lovely community.”

Pecky will focus on artisan products sourced throughout the United States and will offer home interior services.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Patricia Estes, Pecky

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport To See New Check-In Area, Terminal

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) is making some much-needed changes to ensure easier travel for Tampa Bay area residents and visitors.

In early February 2013, SRQ unveiled plans for a new check-in area as part of a master plan to renovate many areas of the two-story, 240,000-square-foot airport; SRQ currently houses 14 gates for flight arrival and departures, serving seven major airlines.

“The sleek, contemporary styling is more economical and easy to maintain, and the new lighting systems are environmentally friendly,” says SRQ President and CEO Rick Piccolo. “SRQ takes pride in providing a safe, customer-friendly airport where travelers can enjoy a relaxed and stress-free experience in a modern and easy to navigate terminal.”

During the past two years, under the master plan, SRQ has installed new escalators, renovated restrooms, replaced chillers and HVAC systems, updated information technology infrastructure, updated the baggage screening system, resealed most of the building exterior and replaced the roof and skylights.

Future plans for improvement under the master plan include remaining terminal renovations and third office facilities and baggage claim. Travelers can expect renovations to be complete within the next two years.

“SRQ, like any commercial airport, generates a great deal of tourism and business activity with more than 1.3 million passengers utilizing the airport each year, spending millions in the local community,” Piccolo says. “Having a vibrant and thriving airport is a key economic attraction.”

Currently SRQ is a totally self-sufficient, funding an operating budget of over $16 million in business activities. With no taxing power, the airport -- the primary air carrier and general aviation airport for Sarasota and Manatee Counties -- provides local economic impact and job creation at no cost to Tampa Bay area residents.

Additionally, SRQ is on track to be debt free by August 2014, paying off the remaining $6 million of $150 million in terminal debt.

“This will essentially result in a new terminal with no debt -- that is rare amongst airports anywhere,” Piccolo says.

With nonstop service to major cities including Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago and New York and easy connections to other countries, SRQ currently generates more than 11,000 jobs and $962 million of economic impact on the local community.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Rick Piccolo, Sarasota Bradenton International Airport

Leadership Sarasota Makes Plans To Improve Michael Biehl Park, Venice

Leadership Sarasota, a program of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, is making Venice's Michael Biehl Park a focus, with plans to improve the local park as part of a community service project.

Located next to Venice Theatre on West Tampa Avenue, improvements will be made to the park with $5,000 of seed money that was given to Leadership Sarasota by the local chamber of commerce to get the project off of the ground. ProGo Solutions, a company specializing in agronomic solutions, will also play an instrumental role in the project, as well as the City of Venice, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and Venice Theatre.

In addition, the program -- which is designed to nurture and engage leadership skills through community immersion, leadership training and educating participants on "how things work'' in the local community -- will use resources through various Tampa Bay area-based businesses for additional funds via in-kind donations of consulting, supplies and equipment.

"Leadership Sarasota's Class of 2013 came to choose the Michael Biehl Park project after thorough consideration'' says Bridget McGrath, a member of Leadership Sarasota. "We all felt that this park and location had immense potential to enhance downtown Venice and, with the resources we have through our class and the local community, knew this project would be a success.''

The project plans to brighten the park with lighting and landscaping, add picnic tables and bike racks and enhance the overall design of the park; an existing mural will be embellished with new lighting.

"Currently, the landscape is pretty drab and lacks color; we intend to change that,'' McGrath says. "We feel that this park is a main focal point when you enter historic downtown Venice and will be helping the continued revitalization of the downtown area.''

An unveiling and community barbecue will be held at the park on April 21st, celebrating the new and improved Michael Biehl Park. Until then, Leadership Sarasota has plans to put in more than five scheduled work days where the class in its entirety will be putting in work to see the project through.

"Leadership Sarasota's class of 2013 is full of solid talent and great charisma with a strong desire to give back to our beautiful community that we are so fortunate to call home.''

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Bridget McGrath, Leadership Sarasota

Uhsome Media, Marketing Opens In Sarasota HuB

Local Tampa media and marketing agency Uhsome has announced an expansion, bringing the company's growth to the Sarasota area.

The brains behind CoWorkTampa, a Tampa-based coworking loft offering affordable memberships to local freelancers and entrepreneurs, Uhsome's new 300-square-foot office will be housed inside of HuB's newly opened space at 1680 Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The HuB space celebrated the grand opening of the Fruitville Road location in December 2012.

“Sarasota is an up and coming, wealthy area with a lot of baby boomers needing online assistance,” says Uhsome CEO Chris Arnoldi. “HuB is at the forefront of the technology scene and is definitely the spot to be. We like associating ourselves with people doing it the right way.”

Since 2009, HuB has been active in promoting big ideas in Sarasota and their renovation of a 10,000-square-foot building is continuing to embrace that concept by housing innovative tech companies, entrepreneurs and creative/tech startups. HuB founder Rich Swier Jr. worked on the renovation with Sarasota's HOYT Architects and Biter Enterprises.

“We do a lot business with people working out of the HuB already,” Arnoldi says. “We plan to be more efficient and accessible.”

Uhsome will begin operating out of their new HuB office on February 1st, offering the same suite of professional services including everything from web design, hosting, consulting and development to iPhone apps and mobile sites.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Chris Arnoldi, Uhsome

HuB Attracts Entrepreneurs To New Workspace, Sarasota

Sarasota's HuB, a creative and collaborative space and community allowing entrepreneurs to come together to develop ideas and contribute toward building a new economy and culture, has opened a new space.

Since 2009, HuB has been active in promoting big ideas in the Sarasota area and their renovation of a 10,000-square-foot building at 1680 Fruitville Rd. is continuing to embrace that concept by housing innovative tech companies, entrepreneurs and creative/tech start ups. HuB founder Rich Swier Jr. worked on the renovation with Sarasota's HOYT Architects and Biter Enterprises.

“We're looking to create a new economy based on creativity,” Swier says. “We wanted to be more centrally located -- downtown -- near a vibrant, creative community.”

The first floor of HuB's new space houses Florida Shores Bank with the second, third and fourth floors offering workspace to tech companies; the third floor is also home to an incubator/collaborative space to local entrepreneurs and startups. A full production studio, bar and event space are among some of the building's features.

A grand opening event for the new Fruitville Road location was hosted on December 8th, featuring a digital show in collaboration with Sarasota's own Ringling College of Art and Design.

Each month, HuB hosts the Entrepreneur Symposium, imviting memebers to network, discuss and share thoughts on entrepreneurship in a non-traditional setting. The Tech Symposium is also hosted monthly, covering a wide range of topics around technology from implementation to innovation.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Rich Swier Jr., HuB

New College Of Florida Begins Library Plaza Renovation, Bell Tower Project

New College of Florida students will see changes on campus when they return in the fall.

Implementing various parts of its 2006 Campus Master Plan, New College recently began a $300,000 renovation on the plaza in front of the Jane Bancroft Cook Library. Sharing the facility with the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, a key component of the project is the construction of a new $400,000 bell tower. The timing of the library plaza renovation is tied to the Fall 2011 opening of the new campus Academic Center and Plaza, located adjacent of the library.

"Over the last few years, New College has been implementing various parts of its Master Plan, which includes urban design components to foster a greater sense of community to enhance the educational and environmental experience for students, faculty and staff,'' says Linda Joffe, New College associate director of public affairs.

According to Joffe, the plan marked an important step in the college's transition back to an independent campus on its historical property, which encompass the former estates of Charles Ringling and Ralph Caples; in 2001, New College separated itself from USF, becoming Florida's independent honors college.

Located between Ringling Plaza and College Drive -- just north of the Ringling Museum and Asolo Repertory Theatre -- the entire plaza in front of the Jane Bancroft Cook Library will be "scraped,'' making way for designs by Graham-Booth Landscape Architecture of St. Petersburg: new pavers, landscaping, lighting, grass, raised planters and tables with attached seating.

In addition, a 64-foot bell tower, designed by Renker-Eich-Parks Architects of St. Petersburg, will evoke New College's historic Four Winds seal and the "building on learning'' concept. The obelisk-style tower will feature four twisting, precast concrete pilasters held together by two rings. Mounted between the rings will be four bells built by French company Paccard, the "Stradivarius of bell makers.'' Currently, more than 120,000 Paccard bells are located in cities and villages throughout the world.

"The modernist bell tower is a welcomed addition to campus architecture. On many college campuses, a bell tower is a landmark and New College wanted to give its students a similar experience,'' Joffe says. "The project is expected to further transform the heart of the campus, creating a seamless, communal outdoor space -- the perfect transition between the historic Ringling-era campus and residential campus.''

According to Joffe, the four bells can be programmed to produce a wide range of melodies. The college hopes that students in the music program will embrace an opportunity to create original music to be played by the new bells.

Funds for the $700,000 project are provided by a $400,000 donation by philanthropists and community leader Beverly Koski with the remaining $300,000 designated by state of Florida infrastructure funding. Project manager and New College Senior Architect Jack Whelan expects the project to be complete by October 2012.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Linda Joffe, New College of Florida

EarthFruits Yogurt Opens In University Park, Sarasota

I scream, you scream, we all scream for yogurt: a new franchise, EarthFruits Yogurt, is coming to the University Park area near Sarasota.

Located between Sarasota, Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch in the Kohl's/Fresh Market shopping plaza on University Parkway, the new 1,694-square-foot EarthFruits Yogurt location is the second EarthFruits franchise in the United States; additional locations are slated to open in Oklahoma, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Connecticut, Texas and California.

Offering natural, healthy treats served in an upscale Internet cafe atmosphere, the family-friendly EarthFruits features up to 38 creamy melt-in-your-mouth flavors from tart to sweet. Fresh toppings including fresh, hand-cut superfruits, cookies, candies and nuts are available to please your sweet tooth, as well as lounge seating, free WiFi and two widescreen TVs, topping off the cafe atmosphere.

“EarthFruits Yogurt is pleased to be part of the booming University Parkway shopping area,” says Lori Uzzo, copy & PR manager for Grapevine Communications, representing EarthFruits. “The owners believe this is going to be the shopping mecca of the area and were eager to establish a presence before the area is completely developed with the coming of the new mall in the next two years.”

The new location will celebrate its opening on Saturday, July 28th, offering 50 percent off of every purchase while giving away free yogurt to the first 25 customers and free gift bags to the first 50 people through the doors. Grand opening festivities are scheduled from 12 p.m. until 3 p.m., with live music, entertainment and family-friendly activities.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Lori Uzzo, Grapevine Communications

Veterinary Specialists Invest In Endoscopy Center, Sarasota

Critical Care & Veterinary Specialists of Sarasota (CCVSS) recently made a $100,000 investment for a complete endoscopy center.

Providing 24/7 service for patients day and night, CCVSS' advanced veterinary medicine clinic is currently equipped with MRI services, two operating rooms, a full ICU unit, a pharmacy, multiple exam rooms and sleepover rooms for clients wanting to be with their animals, as well as digital radiology, cardiology, ophthalmology, acupuncture, endoscopy, laparoscopy and arthroscopy services.

“We have equipped our clinic in order to be able to provide the clients and patients with the care they need,” says Dr. Anne Chauvet, veterinary neurologist and CCVSS founder. “It's very exciting to be able to go into every single little hole and check things out: From a nose that may have cancer or an ear that may have a polyp, going down a stomach to take a biopsy or doing a spay with laparoscopy. It's a very exciting time for us.”

Providing better visuals and allowing access farther into the intestinal tract and small areas of the body, the new endoscopy center includes a human grade, high definition, fiber optic Fujinon endoscope and a full range of rigid and flexible scopes provided by state-of-of-the-art Richard Wolf Medical Instruments. According to Chauvet, the new equipment provides more options for diagnosis and treatment of conditions through minimally invasive procedures.

“Sometimes we have to remove foreign bodies and if they're reachable through the scope, we can do it without needing to go to surgery, which is really amazing,” she says.

This allows staff to find out anything from why a patient is vomiting to why it has diarrhea to why it's bleeding from the bowel -- all without surgery, saving not only time and money, but the animal from possible complications, as well.

“It's very progressive and advanced for our field of veterinary medicine,” Chauvet says. “A lot of people in this business will tell you you only get what you need, but I'm more of a person that gets what I want. We're providing something that is in demand for the human field, making it available for animals. Our mission is to continue bringing the most advanced veterinary medical care to our area.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Dr. Anne Chauvet, CCVSS

North Port Lowers Impact Fees, Strategy For Growth

The City of North Port is making strides to help shape its economic future.

In an attempt to kick start the local economy, the North Port City Commission recently unanimously decided to adopt lower impact fees to spur new commercial and residential construction in Sarasota County's largest city.

“Because the economy continues to recover at a snails pace, the City of North Port felt that the timing was right to impose a moratorium on its two primary impact fees -- transportation and solid waste -- and reduce all others by 50 percent as a way to further the City's 'open for business' posture, making our community more competitive when it comes to business recruitment and attracting new development projects,” says North Port Economic Development Manager Allan Lane. “The business and development community told us this is the way to go and we believe in private sectors driving growth.”

Overall, this translates to a lower cost associated with building a new home or commercial building in North Port. For example, if the decision to place a moratorium had not been made, a single family home would have cost approximately $4,844.60 in impact fees. Now, with the reduction, a single family home will only cost approximately $1,120.13 in fees. A shopping center with more than 50,000-square-feet will pay a maximum of approximately $675.43 per 1,000 square feet in impact fees versus the approximately $5,994.59 per 1,000 square feet it would have cost before the moratorium was adopted.

“There has never been a better time to relocate to our City or start a construction project in the area,” Lane says. “The impact fee moratorium and reductions represent just one of several enticements the City of North Port offers to attract new businesses and development opportunities. We've been recognized throughout the southwest Florida region for its forward-thinking economic development programs and activities, positioning ourselves as the 'Achieve Anything' city.”

North Port also offers ad valorem property tax exemptions, a local preference ordinance that gives consideration to businesses in North Port and Sarasota County that bid on City contracts, expedited plan review and permitting, a small business assistance program to assist start-up entrepreneurs and existing business owners, economic development grants and financing assistance via a revolving loan guarantee fund.

“It's too soon to show whether or not any new businesses or development opportunities have come to the City specifically because of the moratorium and reduced fees, but I would think we will see some impact by June,” Lane says.

In addition, two public meetings recently took place to gain input on updating the North Port's 2007 Economic Development Strategic Plan. The City will focus strongly on what citizens want for the local community, reshaping North Port's economic future for the next three to five years.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Allan Lane, City of North Port

USFSM Students Present Ideas For North Sarasota/Newtown Redevelopment

In an attempt to promote redevelopment for the North Sarasota/Newtown area, students from the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) recently presented business plans to the City of Sarasota.

Developed specifically for the North Sarasota region, the students -- who were enrolled in the Community Entrepreneur Opportunity course at USFSM during the Fall semester -- put together five presentations, focusing on innovative ideas targeting economic revitalization of Sarasota's geographically defined Enterprise Zone.

According to lead instructor Jean Kabongo, assistant professor of management at USFSM, the redevelopment of the North Sarasota area is necessary in order to reduce unemployment and poverty, increase income, create additional employment, promote youth involvement, revitalize the community and create successful and sustainable business practices.

“The mission of the USFSM College of Business is to maintain a balanced emphasis on quality teaching, scholarly pursuits and service activities to benefit the community it serves. We prepare our students to be ethical decision-makers and business and community leaders,” says Kabongo. “The quality of education provided at USFSM creates a practical, workable learning experience for my students. The community projects presented by my students are an example of bringing total 'reality' into the classroom.”

Among the five ideas presented to the city was a business plan to provide the local community with entertainment and services, such as an outdoor paintball area, to accommodate Sarasota's growing high school and college community; a biodiesel production facility; a program geared toward high school students who wish to engage in entrepreneurial activities in the area; a drive-in theatre; and a company that provides local healthcare facilities with quality temporary and permanent employees that are in high demand.

“It is our expectation that all of the business ideas will be funded,” says Kabongo. “After the presentation, a potential investor approached one of the teams to discuss the needed financial support required as start-up capital, which is a good sign.”

The projected presents are a part of the collaboration and partnership between USFSM College of Business and the North Sarasota/Newtown Redevelopment Office; according to Kabongo, the partnership will continue beyond this semester's course.

“We really want to be a part of the efforts to help the area redevelop,” says Kabongo.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Jean Kabongo, USFSM

New College Earns Gold For Going Green, Sarasota

New College of Florida in Sarasota has gone green.

Opening a new $11 million Academic Center just in time for 50 classes for the Fall semester, the college was recently awarded with gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for the extensive number of environmentally friendly features the building offers.

New features include special CO2 room sensors that measure air quality and adjust the air-conditioning system accordingly, specially designed built-in tanks to collect storm water, toilets that flush using residual rainwater from the roof and air-conditioning condensate, pavers and reflective roofing materials and high-efficiency windows to promote natural lighting.

“Environmentally, the New College Academic Center uses fewer of our regions natural resources,” says Lynn Riechmann, spokesperson for the college. “The architectural features that garnered the building golf LEED certification certainly help minimize our carbon footprint as we continue to provide better facilities for students.”

Part of the New College Campus Master Plan that was approved in June 2008, the 3,500-square-foot Academic Center encompasses all that the plan envisioned: environmentally progressive campus development over the next 30 years, promoting a more seamless relationship between academic and residential life.

“The new center really enhances the educational experience for students,” says Riechmann. “About 20 percent of our alumni live and work in the Tampa Bay area, entering the regional workforce as doctors, lawyers, educators, leaders and other professionals.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Lynn Riechmann, New College of Florida

Tampa Bay Shines: Promoting Reasons For Civic Pride

Frustrated that perceptions of the Tampa Bay community are not showing an accurate picture of the region, community leaders came together on September 23rd to announce a new community pride campaign: “Together Tampa Bay Shines.”

Resurrecting a campaign that the Tampa Bay Partnership initiated years ago, “Together Tampa Bay Shines” will become a broader community campaign where residents and visitors can participate to provide their own reasons as to why they think Tampa Bay shines.

“Whether it's specific to their individual community, an entertainment venue they like or an educational asset that they want to talk about, we're encouraging people to share something that they think has a really good 'shine factor',” says Betty Carlin, the Partnership's VP of marketing and communications. “There are a lot of good news stories out there that really need to come to the forefront to be able to build broader awareness within the community of the region's collective strengths.”

Starting off as a Facebook page, the campaign will grow into a website offering several ways for people to not only learn about Tampa Bay, but also share their thoughts and interact with other folks about the points of pride they think Tampa has to offer.

“A while back, some research studies were done showing that the perception within the region is not as positive as it is to those outside of the region,” says Carlin. “A lot of that is due to the fact that people aren't as aware of all of the great things that are going on in the area.”

Currently, the Partnership is trying to get as much support for the campaign as possible, engaging with a number of prominent groups within the area in an attempt to make “Together Tampa Bay Shines” a true community campaign; executives with Coca Cola Refreshments, IMG Academies and the Technology Conservation Group have provided examples of growth and expansion, reflecting on how Tampa Bay has been good for their business.

“We really want to build a sense of pride to show that not only is the area an attractive place for business, but a great place to live, work and play, as well,” says Carlin. “Hopefully, it's contagious and it carries over into all aspects.”

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Betty Carlin, Tampa Bay Partnership

Tampa Bay Farmers Markets Re-Open, Add Wares

Fall is in the air and, with that, some of Tampa Bay's best community markets are back open and filled with vendors.

Offering fresh produce, baked goods, artwork, jams and jellies, woodwork, crafts, and a variety of other wares, markets such as St. Petersburg's Saturday Morning Market, Gulfport's Tuesday Morning Fresh Market, Sarasota Farmers Market, Bradenton Farmers Market and Tampa's Downtown Market strive to provide high-quality products made locally.

“Markets are the closest connection between people and the food they eat -- other than growing or preparing it yourself,” says Gulfport Fresh Market Coordinator Daniel Hodge. “It's a more human-conscious way of selecting food while building community spirit in the process and being a much-needed alternative to mass-produced and mass-marketed merchandise.”

Growing in size and variety, the Fresh Market, at Gulfport's Waterfront District on Beach Boulevard below 28th Avenue South, offers more than 10 new vendor spaces in its October line-up, offering a touch of fall spice to the year-round market.

In addition, St. Pete's Saturday Morning Market (SMM) is back for the season as the largest one-day-a-week fresh market in the Southeast U.S. with 7,000 to 10,000 customers visiting every Saturday.

Located at Al Lang Field at 1st Street and 6th Avenue South in St. Pete, the Saturday Morning Market connects local farmers with city residents while promoting buying local and modeling sustainability.

“We're really committed to our community, considering our vendors to be one of our biggest assets. We really value creativity, community and providing quality,” says SMM Manager Gail Eggeman. “I think bringing farmers to St. Pete is our biggest achievement.”

Bringing farmers to Downtown Tampa, Tampa's Downtown Market is also back with a new location: the 200 and 300 blocks of Twiggs Street. With a strong focus on sustainability and community, one of the market's main goals is to serve as a community gathering place where local farmers, producers and artisans can generate a sense of local pride while developing Downtown Tampa's economy.

Writer: Alexis Quinn Chamberlain
Source: Daniel Hodge, Gulfport's Tuesday Morning Fresh Market; Gail Eggeman, Saturday Morning Market
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