LARGO — Over the past several months, Largo officials have been winnowing a field of 18 architectural firms, each vying for a contract to shape the look and feel of the city's planned rebuilding of its Highland Recreation Complex.
On Tuesday, the city received presentations from the three finalists — each with a unique style and resume, but with a few commonalities: each has a history of energy-efficient designs and plenty of experience working on recreation facilities.
The three firms are Gould Evans of Tampa, Ohlson Lavoie Collaborative of Orlando, and Wannemacher Jensen Architects of St. Petersburg.
The project, which is slated to include building a new 40,000-foot gymnasium facility and meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver green building standards, will replace the current facility, which was built in 1972 and contains basketball courts, workout area and a dance studio.
Gould Evans, which has designed several comparable recreation center projects across the state, such as the University of Florida's Southwest Recreation Complex and the city of Sanibel Community Recreation Center, highlighted in its presentation material its experience identifying fitness trends, such as yoga, and building its facilities to match residents' needs.
Ohlson Lavoie highlighted its work on facilities in sports training meccas like the Rocky Mountains and the Orlando area in its presentation materials.
The other finalist, Wannemacher Jensen, showed off a portfolio that contains some buildings Largo residents might already be familiar with — the firm is the designer behind the city's Southwest Recreation Complex and the Largo Community Center, which is currently being built not far from the Highland site.