North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre Opens its Doors
North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre. Photo courtesy of www.naturallywood.com. Photo: Brudder Productions Inc.
Leading edge facility will provide experiential environmental education to more than 10,000 students and adults each year
North Vancouver, British Columbia, June 21, 2012 – North Shore Credit Union (NSCU) and North Vancouver School District #44 proudly opened the North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre on June 20 in Brackendale, B.C. The NSCU Environmental Learning Centre will be a provincial demonstration facility of leading environmental practices, visited by thousands of students and adults annually.
Plans for the innovative centre became a reality in 2007 when NSCU’s Foundation selected North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) as the recipient of a $1 million Legacy Fund donation. NSCU chose NVOS for its innovative programs to teach and inspire youth about sustainability and the environment. The one-time grant marked the final gift from the Foundation which has since concluded its activities to pave the way for NSCU’s new charitable giving program.
"Our impact on the earth is accelerating at a growing rate," said Chris Catliff, President and CEO, North Shore Credit Union. "We need to raise the consciousness of our children and young adults in order to solve the problems we're creating. Our youth are vital to the advancement of environmental causes, and for that reason, we are honoured to partner with the North Vancouver Outdoor School and open the NSCU Environmental Learning Centre to provide an inspirational place for learning and understanding."
"We are profoundly grateful for North Shore Credit Union’s generous support as the lead donor of this exceptionally designed Learning Centre," said Franci Stratton, Chair, North Vancouver School District. "As a model of sustainability, the North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre represents the unprecedented renewal and revitalization we are creating throughout the North Vancouver School District. Local students and visitors from around the world now have a new, world-class destination to learn more about the nature and beauty of the temperate rainforest here on the West Coast."
John Lewis, Superintendent of the North Vancouver School District added, "We consider Outdoor School to be a prized emblem of 'the natural place to learn.' This world-class facility brings together our values of environmental stewardship and sustainability to support an exceptional program of experiential outdoor education and hospitality. We look forward to welcoming the world to visit the North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre."
The NSCU Environmental Learning Centre, located in the heart of the North Vancouver Outdoor School, includes classrooms, seminar rooms, gallery space, an outdoor classroom area and dining areas. The building's award-winning design features environmental principles such as geothermal water heating, a stormwater harvesting system and a "tree house" concept that will elevate visitors to the forest canopy level. The project has also targeted LEED Platinum sustainability status. Construction on the $5.8 million North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre began in February 2011.
About North Vancouver School District #44
The North Vancouver School District includes 25 elementary schools and 6 secondary schools, a distributed (online) learning school and a residential outdoor education centre. Over 16,000 students are currently enrolled in the School District for the 2011/12 school year.
About North Shore Credit Union
With 12 branches in communities from Burnaby and Vancouver, across the North Shore, and extending to Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton, North Shore Credit Union provides expert advice on banking, loans, investments and insurance. North Shore Credit Union has $2.7 billion in assets under administration, over 300 employees and 40,000 members. NSCU is designated a Caring Company by the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy and is a proud member of Canada's IMAGINE program. The Credit Union has been named "50 Best Small and Medium Employers in Canada" and "The Green 30" by Aon Hewitt, and "Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™" in Western Canada by Waterstone Human Capital. NSCU has also been honoured numerous times as one of the most technologically innovative financial institutions in North America.
For more information contact:
North Vancouver School District
North Shore Credit Union
Taking Shape: The North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre
In the spring of 2007, the North Shore Credit Union Foundation announced it had chosen the North Vancouver Outdoor School (NVOS) to be the recipient of their $1 million Legacy Fund. Targeted to support the development of the North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre (ELC), the award will greatly assist in financing the design and construction of a sustainably-designed environmental education facility.
Since the announcement, months of research, planning and design have culminated in preliminary plans for a centre that incorporates a spirit of “leading green” by example. Larry McFarland Architects, a Vancouver-based team that specializes in sustainable design, was contracted to provide architectural services for the design and construction of the ELC. While the plans must still proceed through further approvals, we’re pleased to share with you the general concept and
current artist’s rendering
of the future ELC.
The design, with its raised floor and forest setting, follows a “tree house” concept, allowing the natural habitat underneath to flourish with minimal disturbance from the structure above.
Ecological principles influence everything from start to finish. The design incorporates natural systems and resources and incorporates “green” building innovations throughout. Plans call for a building that has a net-zero impact on the environment by relying on renewable energy resources.
The plans even go so far as to reduce the impact from construction activities and prioritize the recycling of construction waste. To do this, the building will be constructed out of pre-fabricated elements that will then be assembled on site.
“Our goal is to have the facility model the values of environmental stewardship,” says John Lewis, North Vancouver School District superintendent. “We asked the architects to design a building that responded to the ecology of the site, including the cycles of the river, the eagles and the salmon as well as the rainforest setting. We’re very pleased with what they’ve done.”
The next step toward opening the North Shore Credit Union Environmental Learning Centre in early 2012 will be to engage in community consultation in the Squamish area, and seek additional partners wishing to participate in this unique, leading edge, eco-sustainable project.