Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Florida House to Move

Schools and county to facilitate discussion by community, stakeholders on future of Florida House After 13 years at its current location, the Florida House Learning Center, a demonstration home and garden for Florida-friendly, "green" residential building and landscaping, will move to a new site within the next 12 months.

Florida House, 4600 Beneva Road, is on the northwest corner of the SCTI campus at Beneva and Proctor roads. The relocation of the Florida House is necessary because the Sarasota County School Board plans to open a new technical high school by 2009 on the campus of the Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI).

Plans call for the new high school to share the campus with the existing adult technical school. The decision to proceed with the new school and the need to relocate the Florida House were confirmed at a school board meeting Tuesday. "We will work closely with Sarasota County government and with the many individuals and community organizations that support the Florida House to help facilitate a conversation about its future," said Dr. Gary Norris, superintendent of Sarasota County Schools.

"All of us are committed to helping find a new home for this important local and international resource, but the community must take the lead." Florida House opened in 1994 as a "guest" on the SCTI campus created by a partnership of non-profit organizations, businesses, government agencies and individuals.

It has seen more than 140,000 visitors in its 13-year history, including county residents and visitors, students of sustainability from governments and universities nationwide, and delegations from China, Egypt, Jordan, Mexico and Russia. The model Florida home and yard is a showcase for sustainability, teaching people about environmentally friendly lifestyles, landscape elements and building materials.

Florida House, funded by Sarasota County government, is staffed and operated by the University of Florida-Sarasota County Extension and volunteers. Anyone who has questions or suggestions about the future of the Florida House may send an e-mail to flhouse@scgov. net.

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