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Sunday May 28, 2017
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Renewing St. Joe's

 

continued

The recession will make it harder to complete the campaign. Yet in other ways, the downturn has been good for St. Joe's. With commercial construction stalled, contractors and suppliers bid aggressively for the chance to work on the new buildings. As a result, says Tocco, "we are getting extremely capable facilities at a very reasonable cost."

Though the current $294 million budget is slightly higher than the original estimate of $258 million, Tocco says that represents additional work, not cost overruns. The scope of the project has expanded to include not only the retail area, but also the new entrance and chapel, a new energy plant, and a new recycling center.

"We were recycling before it was cool," says Tocco, pointing out that the new center replaces one built in 1994. Even the old hospital building has been be recycled. After it is vacated in May, Tocco says, "we'll nibble it down." A crane-like, high-reach machine with an articulating hydraulic "claw" will shred the reinforced concrete structure, "rubbleizing" the concrete and pulling out the steel rebar. Tocco predicts that more that 70 percent of the material will be reused.

He is especially proud of the new complex's efficiency. Since 2002, St. Joe's has added 500,000 square feet of floor space. Yet, he says, "we're using nearly 50 percent less water and sewer, 18 percent less natural gas, and 8 percent less electricity." The new energy plant gets much of the credit, but many smaller changes also contribute, from changing landscaping practices to wiring lights to motion sensors to save energy.

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