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Sustainable Buildings Industry Council Recognizes Zyscovich Architects for Pine Jog Design

Project to be Discussed by Congressional Caucus Coalition for High-Performance Buildings



MIAMI – (February 22, 2011) – Florida-based Zyscovich Architects will be recognized in Washington, D.C., this month for its design of Pine Jog Elementary School and Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Pine Jog Environmental Education Center in Palm Beach County.  The campus was built by the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC) in partnership with FAU, which provided the land and educational linkages. 

The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) will present a Special Citation for Integrated Design Process to Zyscovich Architects for the project as part of its Beyond Green™ 2010 High-Performance Building Awards.  The presentation will be made during the Beyond Green education briefing (3-5 p.m. Feb. 24) at the Edward M. Crough Center for Architectural Studies’ Koubek Auditorium on The Catholic University of America campus (620 Michigan Ave., NE).

The Pine Jog Elementary School/Pine Jog Environmental Education Center project also will be highlighted during the High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition meeting earlier in the day at the Rayburn House Office Building (11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.).

According to SBIC, high-performance buildings are healthy and productive places to live and work, cost-effective to operate and maintain, good for the environment and, best of all, are attainable today.  The organization is recognizing a variety of buildings from across the country that successfully integrate sustainability, energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety, security, accessibility, historic preservation and aesthetics.

“We designed many of the building’s features to serve as life-size teaching tools,” explained Jose Murguido, AIA, REFP, Vice President and Principal-in-Charge of the project.  “For example, windows into exposed mechanical rooms and ductwork inspire “What’s that?” questions from students.  Classroom computers link to campus energy performance monitoring and a rooftop weather station, as well as wireless video links to nearby birds’ nests and tortoise burrows.”

Pine Jog Elementary School and Pine Jog Environmental Education Center is a K-5 school and active university center that function as a trail through the discoveries students make with their teachers.  The Environmental Education Center provides graduate and undergraduate programs as well as grades K-5 curriculum and teacher training for the region.  The center also operates the School’s environmentally-themed after school program, a summer day camp, a regional “Green Schools Program” and a residential Everglades summer camp. 

“This organic partnership between FAU’s Environmental Education Center and its partnering Pine Jog Elementary School exemplifies the best opportunities to develop students and educators of all ages, while providing significant economic value to taxpayers,” said Glenn Thomas, assistant dean of FAU’s College of Education and project coordinator.  “Today, global energy and environmental understanding are key policy components of a thoughtful citizenry.  South Florida is highly vulnerable to climate issues.  All too soon, its maturing children’s knowledge and leadership will define how to best face a rapidly changing future.”

Certified LEED® Gold, the projects share 15 acres in a 150-acre pine preserve with “learning habitats” arranged in grade sequence within classroom wings.  All learning habitats have windows into a central courtyard’s preserved stand of pines, which is ringed by interpretive stations that include a butterfly garden, a human sundial, native plant markers, and bio-swale storm water management area, among others.  Students manage a large hydroponic garden, from which they market their strawberries and other produce at an annual Strawberry Festival.  The garden is watered from cisterns that collect rainwater from building roofs.

Other LEED® features include classroom lighting with occupancy sensors, materials with recycled content and dual flush toilets – the sustainable benefits of which are explained by signs that are placed throughout the campus.  The facilities also train teaching professionals on ways they and their schools can be regenerative forces within the community.

“The success of this project is demonstrated by the fact that it continues to evolve.  The faculty and staff at the school have embraced the green school concept and they have added features such as the hydroponic garden and a soon-to-be constructed windmill to further the integration of the built environment and instruction,” said Joseph Sanches, Chief of Facilities Management for the School District of Palm Beach County.


About the School District of Palm Beach County

The School District of Palm Beach County, Florida, is the 11th largest in the continental U.S. and the 5th largest in the state of Florida, with 187 schools serving 171,692 students who speak 150 languages/dialects.  The 2010-11 total budget is $2.5 billion serving 21,495 employees, including 12,442 teachers.  Over 37,000 community volunteers provide academic assistance to students through the Volunteers in Public Schools (VIPS) Program.  The School District has earned an “A” rating from the Florida Department of Education for the sixth consecutive year, based on student performance on the FCAT.


About Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida.  Today, the university serves more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students on seven campuses and sites.  Building on its rich tradition as a teaching university with a world-class faculty, FAU hosts 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science.  For more information, visit www.fau.edu.


About Zyscovich Architects

Established in 1977, Zyscovich Architects is a nationally renowned integrated urban design, architecture and interior design firm headquartered in downtown Miami with additional locations in West Palm Beach, Orlando, New York City, Bogotá and Tobago.  Zyscovich is committed to improving neighborhoods by emphasizing sustainable development and economic vitality based on their character and history. The firm’s imprint is evident in its full range of projects, from master plans and urban studies to  mixed-use urban infill,  transportation facilities  and a wide variety of educational facilities.

For additional information on Zyscovich Architects and its diverse project expertise, please visit the website at www.zyscovich.com.   

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