Tampa plans environmentally friendly museums

08/30/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Earlier this month, Tampa City Council members complained that three museums soon to be built in the city might not be incorporating environmentally friendly standards. Members demanded that leaders of the museum report to the council on how green they actually will be.

Ken Rawlins, the interim executive director of the Tampa Art Museum, said the new museum will not be LEED certified -- that's the special designation created by the U.S. Green Building Council -- but it will have plenty of features to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

Rawlins distributed a handout of 26 initiatives that are under way with the upcoming construction of the new museum. Construction on the much anticipated art museum will begin by February; the facility should be ready for the public by the summer of 2009.

C.J. Roberts is president of the new Tampa Bay History Center. He said from the onset, he’s been intent on creating a Green Building, hopefully LEED certified.

Making a building LEED certified does raise construction costs but environmentalists say it ultimately saves more in the long run. Roberts says it will add about 2½ percent to the budget, and he says they are actively trying to raise that money.

The timeframe for the History Museum? Substantial completion is expected in the fall of ’08, with the grand opening in December 2008.

Al Najar, president and CEO of the new Children's Museum, says having a green building sets an important example for kids.

Design development for the Children's Museum will begin early next year, construction will take place in later summer and the facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.

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