Collaboratory see’s it’s first new years eve
Happy new year! One of our fondest wishes for 2019 is that the Collaboratory continues to flourish in its first full year of existence. The space for innovation at the site of an Atlantic Coast Line railroad depot in midtown Fort Myers is the new headquarters of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, and soon, it will also be home to other forward-thinking organizations. At EnSite, we’re proud to have provided our full range of services to renovate the historic space into a venue for today, tomorrow and far beyond.
Foundation CEO Sarah Owen spoke at length to Gulfshore Life about the Collaboratory and the vision that guided the project to completion and a triumphant opening in October of last year. She and Gulfshore Life writer Justin Paprocki made note of a couple of design elements that embody our commitment to connecting the rich and innovative history of the Fort Myers of yore with the boundless possibility of the Fort Myers of the future.
Paprocki: The building has a strong sense of place. In the men’s room, the counter is wood from a tree that used to exist here. What are some other examples that connect it to this area?
Owen: “There’s history here, not just in the building, but in the community. One thing that was important was to not lose the story of segregation. (The depot) was segregated until it closed in 1971. That’s part of the community’s story, and we don’t want that to be forgotten. We left all four doors. The two sets of doors—one for blacks and one for whites only. There are some painful stories that we don’t want to forget, but to learn from and move forward.”The entire interview is worth checking out to gain an understanding of the profound meaning behind the Collaboratory. We wish Owen and her team at the foundation nothing but the best in 2019, a year that holds enormous promise.