FGCU to possibly partner with first fully sustainable town
FGCU has been committed to being an environmentally conscious university since its founding in 1991. Now, in less than a year, FGCU may have the opportunity to extend this commitment with the opening of Babcock Ranch.
In April 2016, Babcock Ranch revealed its plans on becoming the world’s first solar powered town. Babcock Ranch, located on the line of Lee and Charlotte County, is a 91,000-acre property that was owned by Edward Babcock, a lumber businessman and a politician, from 1914 until 2006.
In 2006, the property was purchased from the Babcock family by the real estate company Town Maker Kitson & Partners. On the very same day of the land purchase, Kitson finalized the largest land preservation agreement in Florida’s history. The agreement allocated 17,000 acres of land for Kitson to develop and the remaining 74,000 acres for preservation.
The town of Babcock Ranch is projected to open to the public in early 2017. The town will power close to 20,000 homes with 340,000 solar panels.
FGCU has been in talks with the developers of the town in regards to a possible partnership with Babcock Ranch.
“We are excited about being in discussions with the people who are developing Babcock Ranch,” President Wilson Bradshaw said.
One of the biggest focuses of FGCU is environmental sciences and studies. FGCU not only has the environmental studies major but also has a number of projects, programs and facilities dedicated to the preservation of the environment.
According to “News- Press,” Kitson is very interested in having FGCU be a part of the Babcock Ranch community. The real estate company hopes to donate a 12,400 square foot educational facility to FGCU for a health and wellness center. This means that not only would environmental studies students at FGCU have an opportunity to utilize Babcock Ranch for their education but also students in health science majors.
Bradshaw said FGCU hopes the potential partnership will allow students to extend their education outside of the FGCU campus.
“We’re not talking about another campus per say,” Bradshaw said. “But, the opportunity or some of our clinical students to do some work there, it could possibly be for continuing education, as well a renaissance academy. It’s an opportunity to branch out.”
FGCU has notfinalized any agreement with Babcock Ranch as of yet, but with the opening of the town set to be in less than a year, it is possible an announcement could be made soon.
“We’re thinking broadly and again very excited,” Bradshaw said. “Nothing is set in stone, but we’re excited partners to be working with each other.”
You can visit the Babcock Ranch website here.