San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Sophie Maxwell
joined residents and community leaders yesterday
to celebrate the groundbreaking of a landmark youth education facility
in Bayview Hunters Point.
Photo courtesy Literacy for Environmental Justice
From Literacy for Environmental Justice
April 23, 2008
Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), a non-profit organization in the Bayview, brought together city and state officials, community leaders, residents and youth to celebrate the groundbreaking for the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park, a landmark youth education facility and environmental initiative in Bayview Hunters Point.
“The EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park places San Francisco on the cutting edge of green building,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “It exemplifies my vision for San Francisco as a global ‘ecocity’ at the forefront of urban environmental commitment. By bringing off-grid designs to an urban environment like the Bayview, we are working to redefine what a 21st century city can be.”
Located at the foot of the former PG&E power plant, the EcoCenter will be the first green education facility in San Francisco’s Southeast sector. The EcoCenter also is the first 100% off-grid green building in San Francisco, boasting features that set a new standard for green building.
“With this groundbreaking ceremony, we are taking a major step toward bringing a beacon of environmental justice and education to a community that sorely needs it,” said Milton Reynolds, Board Chair of LEJ. “Thanks to our partners and community supporters, this initiative will place San Francisco at the forefront of urban environmental commitment.”
The EcoCenter is the result of a unique partnership between the community-based LEJ, the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the State Coastal Conservancy.
Proposed in 2001, the EcoCenter is funded with grants from SF Environment, the Coastal Conservancy, and numerous foundations, including the Stewardship Council, the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the Live Oak Fund of Horizons Foundation, Mitchell Kapor Foundation, Walter & Elise Haas Fund and Flora Family Foundation.
“The EcoCenter will be a tremendous asset not only for the Bayview Hunters Point community but for San Francisco as a whole,” said Supervisor Sophie Maxwell.
“As the first environmental education center for the southern end of the city, the EcoCenter will stand as a symbol for equal access to health and sustainability resources.”
The first building in San Francisco’s Southeast sector to be LEED certified by the US Green Building Council, the EcoCenter’s innovative features include:
â€¢ Solar panels and a wind tribune to meet all electricity demands of the building.
â€¢ Wastewater treatment that utilizes a series of wetland cells and ultraviolet sterilization lamps to treat wastewater and recycle treated water for landscape irrigation.
â€¢ Green “living roof” to reduce building needs for heating and cooling, provide retention of storm water on site for reuse, and encourage wildlife habitat.
â€¢ Structurally Insulated Panels (SIPs) to provide high-energy efficiency and strength in the walls and roof as well as seismic support and fire resistance.
â€¢ Native landscaping to promote water conservation, the elimination of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, and encourage education around native plant propagation.
â€¢ Fixtures constructed from reusable material, and non-toxic and sustainably produced paint and finishing.
The 1,500-square-foot center has an occupancy capacity of 49 people, along with 2,200 square feet of surrounding pathways and outdoor meeting space. Staffed by LEJ, the EcoCenter will serve the entire city with a menu of educational programs about clean air and water, safe energy, healthy food, non-toxic homes and schools, open space restoration, and equitable education and employment. Built-in displays will spotlight the building’s alternative technologies, emphasizing the importance of green building in environmental justice communities such as Hunters Point. Youth interns from the area will serve as resident docents/educators, providing peer-to-peer and youth-to-community interpretive programming.
“The EcoCenter gives BVHP something that signifies a positive change in our community,” said LaConstance Shahid, a Bayview resident and an LEJ Senior Youth Intern. “For me, it represents a community victory after a long hard fight. “
The EcoCenter is designed by Toby Long Design and Clever Homes, and will be built by the partners of LORAX Development. Occidental Power (Solar & Cogeneration) is installing solar panels. The living roof is constructed by Rana Creek Ecological Design. The wastewater treatment and on-site integration system is managed by John Todd Ecological Design and Eckmann Environmental Services.
About Literacy for Environmental Justice
Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2008, Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) addresses the ecological and health concerns of Bayview Hunters Point and the surrounding communities of southeast San Francisco. Our mission is to foster an understanding of the principles of environmental justice and urban sustainability in our young people in order to promote the long-term health of our communities.