Grandy Village Learning Center

The Grandy Village Learning Center developed by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Three years ago the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (Norfolk RHA) had a plan for a new education center at Grandy Village.

The location for the center fronts the Elizabeth River on a site that over the years had been burdened with rubbish and a variety of old construction waste. Property residents were avoiding the location. Furthermore, also at issue were the facts that the site had floodplain and wetland concerns, site contamination, and invasive plant problems. These issues needed to be addressed for the plan to work.

Well, on September 1, 2010 the location had its grand opening. The learning center is home to pre-kindergarten and day care classes for the residents of Grandy Village. The learning center is part of an effort to transform Grandy Village into a mixed income community.

Norfolk RHA funded the construction of the Grandy Village Learning Center using Public Housing Capital Funds and low-income housing tax credits. They will share operational costs for the facility with Norfolk Public Schools and the STOP Organization (Southeastern Tidewater Opportunity Project, Inc) head start program, which both occupy part of the building. Also, Norfolk RHA used grants from the State of Virginia and City the Norfolk to remove overgrown bushes and trees and replaced them with native grasses and plants.

A pre-school classroom at the Grandy Village Learning Center

The property has applied to earn a designation of the first LEED gold rated building in Norfolk. The design incorporates many green features like solar and passive lighting, along with water and storm water management features. Invasive plant species have been removed and replaced with native plant species through wetland mitigation land banking.

A new dock and canoe launch site have been added. Many yards of creosote impacted river mud have been removed and sent to a hazardous waste landfill. The appropriate mitigation the 100-year flood level included elevating the building pad above and making the on-site walking paths from oyster shells. The property uses geo-thermal heating and cooling. Overall the new building uses 33 percent less energy than similar sized buildings in Norfolk. Not only was the location improved for the children of the property and city but the native insects, fish, shellfish and aquatic bird species have returned. The Grandy Village Learning Center is a success story for all.

Content Archived: May 25, 2012