New Classroom to Open at CBF's Brock Environmental Center

VA Beach SEED_Classroom_at_BEC_695x352

This conceptual drawing shows the proposed new classroom addition on the east end of CBF's Brock Environmental Center (right).

Tymoff+Moss Architects

Virginia Beach City Public Schools and CBF are partnering on a new environmental science program for high school students, which will be based at CBF's Brock Environmental Center in Virginia Beach. The program will use the Brock Center and its natural surroundings to broaden students' understanding of sustainability and the environment.

There's nothing more important than educating the next generation about the environment and sustainability. A classroom at Pleasure House Point opens a world of exciting possibilities that will have a ripple effect on the community and beyond for years to come. I'm so proud to support this mission.

—Joan Brock

The program includes adding a new classroom to the Brock Center. The classroom will mirror the Brock Center in both design and function, matching its look and following the same strict sustainability practices that allow the Brock Center to be a world leader in sustainable design and construction.

CBF will seek input from the local community as development of the proposed classroom gets underway.

This effort is a continuation of a 25-year partnership between CBF and Virginia Beach City Public Schools, both of which are nationally recognized for their sustainable buildings and green initiatives. We're excited to work together on this cutting-edge concept in education, which will educate local students, train teachers, and inspire the next generation of leaders.

The new classroom at the Brock Center is made possible thanks to a generous donation by Joan Brock.

CBF also offers educational field experiences at the Brock Center and other areas in Virginia through our Environmental Education programs.

Download a PDF of the July 30, 2019 community meeting presentation.

FAQ: Classroom at the Brock Center

Why is CBF building a sustainable classroom at the Brock Environmental Center? 
Virginia Beach City Public Schools first approached CBF in 2016 about hosting this innovative new concept at the Brock Center. CBF is working closely with the community and school division on new ways to protect the beautiful Pleasure House Point campus while educating and inspiring local students and the community. A model sustainable classroom will add to the existing education programs at the Brock Environmental Center.

How will the community be involved in the process?
CBF will seek local input on the proposed classroom in several ways, including hosting public discussions at the Brock Center, and holding meetings with community leaders, civic associations, and other community groups.

CBF's next community meeting will be held at the Brock Center on Tuesday, July 30, from 7-9:00 p.m. Individuals can also provide input by contacting CBF Brock Center Manager Chris Gorri directly at cgorri@cbf.org.

Where will the classroom be built?
Initial plans for the classroom call for it to be added to the east end of CBF's Brock Environmental Center, largely within the building's existing footprint with minimal impact to the surrounding environment.

Will the classroom be as sustainable as the Brock Center?
Yes, the proposed new classroom at the Brock Environmental Center will follow all the same sustainable principles used at the Brock Center, including energy efficiency, renewable power, drinkable rainwater, composting toilets, and a low-impact design.

Which architects are working on the design of the classroom?
Norfolk-based Tymoff+Moss Architects will lead the design of the project, with support from SmithGroup, which worked on the Brock Center and CBF's Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, Maryland.

Will there be additional wind turbines added to the Pleasure House Point Property?
No, the classroom will use solar panels to produce all the energy it needs.

Will the classroom follow similar design principles of the Brock Center?
Yes. In addition to using similar sustainable features, the classroom will follow the same design principles as the Brock Center to blend into the existing building and surrounding beauty of Pleasure House Point. 

Who will build and who will operate the classroom?
A generous donation from Joan Brock to CBF will cover the cost of building the classroom. Virginia Beach City Public Schools will cover the cost of anything directly related to the educating its students in the new classroom.

What is the goal of the new environmental studies program at Virginia Beach City Public Schools, which will use the new classroom?
The Environmental Studies Program will empower students to broaden their understanding of sustainability and the environment by using the Brock Center and surrounding natural community, implementing environmental service learning projects, and integrating interdisciplinary instruction.

Where will the school buses and students park?
The buses will drop students off at the end of Marlin Bay Drive at the same bus parking area currently used by visiting school groups. From there, students will walk the natural path from Marlin Bay Drive to the classroom. Students that choose to drive to the classroom will also be required to park along Marlin Bay Drive and use the trail.

How large will the classroom building be?
Large enough to hold 25 to 30 students per class.

What approvals are needed before the classroom can move forward?
The Virginia Beach Planning Commission will consider a conditional use permit for the project in August. Before construction can begin the Virginia Beach Planning Commission must approve design plans and all necessary construction permits.

When would the classroom be built?
As the necessary approvals have not yet been issued, no timeline for construction has been developed. Virginia Beach City Public Schools hopes to have students attending class in the classroom in the fall of 2020.

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