Sarasota Military Academy breaks ground on a new Classroom Building

Posted by Fri, Nov 30, 2012

Tags: green, carlson, sarasota, school, high school, military

sma phase 3

November 29th, 2012
Sarasota, Florida

The Sarasota Military Academy broke ground today on their new 36,000 SF "Urfer Family" Classroom Building. The new building will house new classrooms, a bandroom, teachers' lounge, and new offices for the guidance department. The project was made possible by the generous donation from the Urfer Family, without whom the project would not have begun. Designed by Carlson Studio Architecture, it is the 3rd phase of a multi phase master plan created by CSA in 2005. Phase 1 a 30,000 sf gym and classroom building was completed in 2008, while Phase 2 a renovation of exsiting cafeteria and administration offices was finished 2009. Phase 3 is the largest building so far and will built be Sarasota local Fred Starling of the Starling Group.

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Case study of Learning Gate Community School is being featured on the USGBC website

Posted by Fri, Oct 28, 2011

Tags: usgbc, green building, LEED AP, school, tampa, architect, florida

As part of its hands-on, nature-based curriculum, Learning Gate School has chosen to build all future additions to its campus in an environmentally friendly way. Learning Gate required additional classroom space for its growing student body and for this project, they chose to achieve LEED for Schools Platinum status. The students have become ambassadors for the project and have absorbed the principles within their daily routines.

This LEED project encompasses three structures connected by a covered walkway with spaces including four restrooms and ten classrooms. One classroom was set aside for green and public education and will be available for use after hours and on weekends. This classroom highlights the technical and material features of the building. more at
learning gate

Suncoast School for Innovative Studies opens the doors to their newly renovated school!

Posted by Tue, Mar 15, 2011

Tags: sarasota, renovation, school, k-8, charter school

When the pre-kindergraten through eighth grade kids of SSIS Charter School returned from spring-break this year, they discovered a brand new school. Renovations were just completed on the SSIS's new project, a former parochial school building. The 19,000 sf campus received updated mechanical systems, lighting, new flooring, fresh paint, and some re-configured spaces. For the first time the school has a stage, library, and a gymnasium. During the renovation all low chemical and low VOC products were used to keep the childern safe healthy while they learn.  ssis

pre kindergarten

Students Learn “Real Life” Environmental Lessons in Green Classrooms

Posted by Wed, Aug 18, 2010

Tags: architecture, carlson, usgbc, LEED, school, award, tampa, heap, platinum, Announcements

August 16, 2010 (Sarasota, FL)  Learning Gate Community School, a charter school in Hillsborough County with a curriculum that emphasizes nature, agriculture and environmental responsibility, became the first public school in the United States to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  The project, 3 new buildings, consisting of 10 classrooms and an 8,000-square-foot addition to the middle school campus, was designed by Carlson Studio Architecture.

“Green schools – whether newly constructed or retrofitted existing buildings - make a tremendous impact on student health, test scores, teacher retention, school operational costs and the environment,” said Carlson Studio Architecture President Michael Carlson.

The LEED Platinum Certification was awarded on a number of sustainable design strategies and construction features that include:

The new buildings are constructed using prefabricated 6" wood stud modules for quick site assembly. Once placed on their elevated foundations the buildings were insulated with R-30 Soy-Based spray insulation, walls are finished with 95% recycled content gypsum board, and the floors with "Cradle to Cradle" carpet tiles made from soda bottles.

Large insulated north facing windows allow for natural light, while dimmable T-8 fluorescent fixtures will automatically adjust to add additional lighting. The classrooms also utilize a High Efficiency A/C system, which dehumidifies both the fresh air and return air, allowing for smaller sized cooling units.

Rainwater is harvested for the flushing of 1.2 gallon per flush toilets, which will eventually be integrated into an on site "living machine" waste treatment center.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the USGBC’s standardized 3rd party verification system, administered by the Green Building Certification Institute, for certifying the world’s greenest, energy efficient and high performance buildings.  

For more information about the project, visit or

describe the imagelearning gate



LEED Platinum School Adds Solar Panels

Posted by Mon, Aug 02, 2010

Tags: carlson, usgbc, LEED, school, jedd, award, solar

Bert Moreno, 10 Connects News

Lutz, Florida - Learning Gate Community School has been known for receiving A's on its annual report cards. Soon the school will be recognized for its color: green.

School officials believe Learning Gate has enough points to place it in the Platinum level for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" (LEED). If that happens, the school would be just the third campus in the entire country to receive that recognition, and the first in Florida.

The school just finished installing solar panels on one of the buildings. This will cut the school's TECO Energy power bill by an estimated seven percent. This project, along with all of the others, should give Learning Gate enough points for the Platinum level in the LEED for Schools Project.

Last year they installed an energy management system that monitors all the energy use on campus and automatically adjusts to the outside temperatures as well as what's going on in the classroom. If there has been no movement inside a room for five minutes, the lights go out. Speaking of the lights, they adjust to the brightness outside, so on a sunny day they might only be on at 20 percent, if it gets cloudy later on they will increase their brightness.

The insulation is made from soy beans and the humidity inside the classrooms is automatically adjusted to make the students more comfortable while using less electricity. They also created a rain water runoff system, that catches the water, places it in a bladder underneath a building and uses that water to flush four commodes on campus, saving 36,000 gallons of fresh water every school year.

Principal Patti Girard says that there are more green initiatives in the future. The school is working on funding for an aquatic garden, growing vegetables as well as fish, in one project.

Girard says that all the projects have been funded by parent fundraisers, corporate sponsorship and lots of grant awards.

Solar Panels installed by ECO Technologies


LEED Platinum School to be featured at the National Charter Schools Conference

Posted by Thu, Jun 17, 2010

Tags: green, carlson, usgbc, LEED, Michael, school, jedd, charter, chicago

Jedd W. Heap, LEED AP of Carlson Studio Archietcture will be accompanying the Learning Gate Community School demonstration exhibit to the National Charter School Conference in Chicago on June 28th, 2010. The Conference is featuring a prototype version of the LEED Platinum prefab structure in their exhibition hall.  Learning Gate Community School has applied what they learned by building their own LEED classroom additional and packaging it with their cutting edge enviromental cirriculum. "Learning Gate in a box" was the idea of the school's principal Patti Girard, and will offered to other charter schools looking to begin teaching through nature.

The confernece runs from June 28th through July 1st, with the exhibit hall opening at 7:30am on June 29th.

learning gate booth

LEED booth


Learning Gate Community School wins award from the USGBC

Posted by Wed, Sep 02, 2009

Tags: LEED, school, award


The Learning Gate Community School in Lutz, FL earned a "U.S. Green Building Council's Excellence in Green Building Education" Recognition Award for its commitment to the environment and green building education.

Award Website