Crews with local construction company Bell Construction started work yesterday on Lime Hollow Nature Center's new outdoor environmental education facility. The new building, located on Gracie Road, will produce its own energy using solar panels.
The 2800 square-foot education center will be self contained and will be one of the first net zero energy buildings in Cortland County. Net-zero energy consumption means the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on [the] site.
The new building, once completed, will replace classroom space currently used by the BOCES Environmental Science program at the Tunison Fish Lab of Aquatic Science on Gracie Road.
The new education center has been in the works for the past two years, with students in [the] BOCES' Construction Technology program having built two separate modules that will then be brought to the site and put together. This reduces building costs, giving those students real world, hands-on experience as well.
Art Bell with Bell Construction says those modules will brought in and lifted into place in the weeks ahead. In order to meet the net-zero energy standard as well as reach LEED certification the project must adhere to certain standards and the architect and builder must utilize specific best practices.
The new building is located on property donated by the Bestway Lumber Company, and there are already three buildings on the site that the nature center has rehabilitated with volunteers.
Brian Buttner of Cortlandville, an engineer who owns Applied Design Research Associates, is an avid Lime Hollow supporter. Buttner designed the new building and laid out the site plan. Buttner says the new building will be situated in such a way to maximize natural light while blending in with the surrounding wilderness.
Lime Hollow Executive Director Glenn Reisweber says this new building will help Lime Hollow continue to grow its mission of education and environmental stewardship.
The project is broken into the three phases, the first includes construction of the education building and other improvements, the second includes a new on-site sugar shack which can be used to demonstrate the maple sugaring process, and the third phase includes a showering facility for the summer camp and a repair of the Gracie Pond dam. The total project will cost over $2.6 million dollars.
Reisweber says the he plans to have the new building open and ready to transition the environmental science program by this coming fall.