Lloyd Center plans a transformation
The Lloyd Center has changed thousands of lives, but soon, the center will see some changes of its own.
During their annual meeting last month, members of the Lloyd Center, Dartmouth’s 82-acre nature preserve, research hub and educational facility, announced their “Transforming a Legacy” capital campaign.
The center hopes to raise $3 million to fund their ongoing learning programs and make several major additions to their property.
Because there are so many pieces to the renovation, the project is estimated to take three to five years. This includes improvements to the roadway, the construction of an outdoor pavilion, a new welcome center and an addition to the existing facility — likely in that order.
Long-term commitments from the Lloyd family, the board of directors and committee members have already placed the campaign at its halfway point.
“There will be some evidence of renovations as early as this summer,” said Rachel Stronach, executive director of the Lloyd Center.
The initial changes will likely be road improvements, which includes building a bus turnaround for safer student drop offs, a new parking lot and the widening of the existing roadway.
The bus turnaround will be an essential component in arguably the most ambitious part of the entire campaign: a welcome center with a Living Building Challenge (LBC) certification.
Currently there are only eight buildings in the world that have managed to achieve this certification, largely due to its strict standards.
Buildings that are LBC certified must be deemed net neutral, in that they must collect their own water, produce their own energy and have composting toilets. The structure cannot be built with any “Red List” materials, which are products known to harm living creatures. Additionally, LBC-certified buildings must be used to educate beyond its walls.
“The information of what’s going on in that building will be available on the Internet,” said Gaelen Canning, a consultant for institutional development. “You could be in Wisconsin and study the building, and that’s one of the directions we’re taking the living building.”
After construction is completed, it will take another year of data tracking before the welcome center can become fully certified. Kathryn Duff, the architect working on the design plans for the renovations, said during the center’s annual meeting that these high environmental standards match the mission of the Lloyd Center.
“The Lloyd Center is all about the place that informs the science and engages the students. The place and the programs intersect, and they support one another,” said Duff.
Because it will be the first building that students enter, classes will be engaged immediately with a lesson on sustainability.
The covered outdoor pavilion, also designed by Duff, will enable students with disabilities to take part in field trips fully and become immersed in nature.
But the capital campaign is more than new construction projects. Donations will help sustain and bolster the center’s ongoing educational programs.
“Programs are an essential piece of what we do here,” said Stronach. “That’s one of the things that we’re proud of — that even during times when money’s been tight for local school districts, we’ve been able to work together and continue to provide these essential learning experiences.”
The Lloyd Center has engaged with over 30 towns and cities throughout New England, whether that’s sending a staff member into the classroom or hosting students at the nature preserve.
“About half of the students that we work with are from underserved areas. With some of these students, it’s the first time they’ve been to the beach, so we get to be there for those ‘Aha!’ moments,” said Stronach.
Canning believes there exists a common thread between the two sides of the capital campaign: an interest in creating a novel, state-of-the-art learning experience. It’s why she feels the Lloyd Center is “the best kept secret around.”
“Even us who have lived here forever have not had a full sense of what’s going on here,” said Canning.
With a modern, environmentally sustainable building in the works, that may no longer be the case.