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Largo Community Center racks up awards
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LARGO – When it comes to new construction excellence, the Largo Community Center is in the same league as Orlando’s new arena.

At least that was what the Largo City Commission heard from a representative of the contractor on the project.

City commissioners June 7 were presented awards for the Community Center from associations in the design and construction fields.

The Associated General Contractors is the most prominent trade industry organization for general contractors in the country, said Josh Bomstein, a vice president for Creative Contractors, the construction management firm for the Community Center project.

Every two years the organization presents a Horizon Award. The Community Center won the Horizon Award for new municipal utility construction in the $6 million to $15 million category. It is a statewide award.

“Just of note, usually you don’t come in and say we got second place. But you did actually get second place for project of the year in the state of Florida,” Bomstein said. “The project that actually won the award is the new arena for the Orlando Magic. So as you can imagine, that’s pretty impressive to come in second against this major arena that was built in Orlando.”

The new Orlando arena, called the Amway Center, cost about $380 million and has about 367,000 square feet.

Bomstein also presented the city with the Excellence in Construction Award, which was given to the Largo Community Center in a competition that is held annually by the Associated Builders and Contractors Group.

He called the group the most significant subcontractor trade organization in the country.

The award was given in the public and municipal category for Florida.

The city participated in a program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Program known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system.

It provides third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance related to energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources, Assistant City Manager Henry Schubert said.

The highest LEED rating is platinum. The Largo Community Center is the first LEED platinum public access building in Florida. In recognition of the certification, two plaques will be mounted in the building.

Within the category that includes commercial and governmental buildings, it is only the sixth award recipient in Florida and only the 410th project in the world to receive this designation, Schubert said.

The city obtained federal government energy conservation grants to acquire a system that generates “17 percent of the building’s electrical needs from the sun,” Schubert said.

Schubert recognized city officials; Wannemaker Jensen Architects Inc. of St. Petersburg, the project designers; Creative Contractors Inc. of Clearwater and other partners in the work.

Architect Jason Jensen said the project was submitted to Recreation Management Magazine, “the main industry magazine for reaction and parks.”

The Community Center was one of eight projects in the country that were given an innovative architecture and design award.

He said the center was competing against universities and much larger projects.

“You are able to have a building that would stand against any project in the country,” Jensen said.

It also is up for additional design awards, Jensen said.

Largo Senior Management Analyst Charles Jordan said the American Public Works Association’s west coast branch and the Florida chapter awarded the Community Center the project of the year for structures.

“I just want to thank Wannemaker Jensen and Creative Contractors. Obviously, you guys did the building. We get to take advantage of your talents, but you have a lot to be proud of,” Mayor Pat Gerard said.

The 30,000-square-foot $10 million Community Center, located at 400 Alt. Keene Road, opened Jan. 9.
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