Archives for Summer 2017


The City of Bonita Springs Gets its First High School

The home of the Bonita Springs High School Bull Sharks will be opening for students in the fall of 2018.

It’s an exciting time for kids in south Lee County as the Lee County School District is building its first high school in the City of Bonita Springs. This won’t be just any other high school, but a unique college-like campus with the opportunity to graduate with up to 60 hours of university credit from Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU).

The 76-acre campus is located just west of I-75 on the corner of Imperial Parkway and Shangri-La Road in Bonita Springs and will be home to the new Bonita Springs High School Bull Sharks.

Scheduled to open in the fall of 2018, it’s expected to accommodate nearly 1,800 students.

The school will offer a variety of customized academic programs to prepare students for specific careers essential to Southwest Florida and beyond. By partnering with universities, hospitals, and businesses, the school will offer more opportunities for hands-on experience, in turn helping solidify career paths.

These academic programs and career academies will include:

– FGCU Collegiate Academy
– Advanced Placement International Diploma
– Junior ROTC
– Career & Technical Education Programs
– Academy of Health Professions
– Aerospace Technology Academy
– Computer Science Academy
– Education Academy
– Environmental Controls Academy: HVAC
– Sustainability Academy

As students choose which career path they would like to take, a variety of experiences await them. Given the opportunity to explore such a wide array of specialties, students will have a huge jump on their professional career path.

The Collegiate Academy students will explore college majors through a partnership with FGCU and can potentially earn as many as 60 hours of credits from the university, as well as for other colleges.

The school will be offering a Junior ROTC program for those looking to pursue a career in the military and an Aerospace Academy for future fliers. In a partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, students can earn their private pilot’s license and become certified drone pilots, potentially jump-starting their career as future airline pilots.

With the new Lee Health at Coconut Point campus being constructed just five miles from the high school, it opens a host of opportunities for students who want to become Certified Nursing Assistants. The school’s Health Professions Academy will prepare them for their CNA certification exam once they graduate.

The high school will also practice what they teach by incorporating many sustainable features into the school’s design. The Sustainable Academy Students can take advantage of hands-on learning in their 5.6-acre outdoor wetland classroom, harvest rainwater, even work in school garden where they can grow, market, and sell crops right on campus.

Athletics will also be a huge part of the overall package, including a football field with track, a baseball field, softball field, tennis, basketball, and sand volley ball courts.

Behind the scenes of this vast undertaking are layers of responsibility, as well as months of planning and construction. Our team is one of the integral layers that is helping bring this project to completion. As the civil engineer, our team assisted the lead architect, BSSW, with the overall site design for the complex, which included a stormwater management plan, environmental assessments, utility infrastructure, roadway and parking areas, and permitting. Working closely with BSSW, Lee County School District staff, and the rest of the design team, we are making sure the school is on the fast track to be ready for students in the fall of 2018.

Our team was instrumental in making many initial concepts come to fruition, including incorporating the existing wetland into the overall plan, giving students the opportunity to utilize this space for learning. We were also able to integrate green overflow parking spaces, supporting the school’s overall sustainable initiative.

It’s a privilege to be part of this exciting project, knowing the Lee County School District is working to refine and improve the educational amenities to better prepare our children for the future.
For more information, contact Dana Hume at [email protected].

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Endangered Red-Cockaded Woodpecker Banding Opportunity

While Johnson Engineering ecologists were conducting acoustic surveys for the federally endangered Florida bonneted bat (FBB) at the 1,972-acre Platt Branch Wildlife Mitigation Bank in Highlands County, they were afforded a unique opportunity to work with another federally endangered species, the red-cockaded woodpecker (RCW).

The FBB project coincidentally occurred during RCW nesting season (April – June), which uncovered a rare chance for Johnson Engineering senior ecologist, John Curtis, to assist FWC senior biologist and land manager, Steven Shattler, with capturing and banding a newborn RCW. RCWs are unique in their nesting, as they only nest in self-made cavities in live pine trees.

Steve used a peeper camera to view the 8-day old RCW inside the ±2-inch diameter opening and 5-inch deep cavity, while balancing atop the 20’ ladder to verify the chick was of proper size for banding. He then demonstrated considerable dexterity and patience, using a specialized tool to capture the RCW and remove it from the cavity. Banding each year’s newborns with unique colored leg bands helps to aid in the study of RCW local movements and behaviors from a distance, which aids the recovery efforts of onsite populations.

Although our ecologists routinely conduct RCW surveys on potential development sites, special permits are required to capture and band listed species, so this was an exciting and new experience for John. We would like to extend a special thanks to Steve for his willingness to let John assist, for making the banding process look easy, and most importantly for his expertise and efforts managing the property for the benefit of the numerous wildlife species onsite.

For more information on conducting RCW or FBB surveys, contact John Curtis at [email protected].

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Choose an ISA Certified Arborist for your Tree Care

If you need trees trimmed away from power lines, expert testimony in court over a vegetation dispute, or if you just want the most qualified expertise for a new landscaping project, you need a Certified Arborist. Arborists are specialists knowledgeable about the needs and proper care techniques for trees. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) issues certification for arborists. The certification entails education and training criteria and both written and in the field testing of tree knowledge. Certificate maintenance for arborists includes thirty education credits every three years. While ISA certification is encouraged, it is not a mandatory qualification for arborists. Many people may refer to themselves as arborists, however it is always recommended to choose a certified ISA Professional Arborist.

Johnson Engineering has an in-house ISA Certified Arborist, Mark Lerch on our Landscape Architecture team. His knowledge of tree care techniques can help with addressing health issues of trees in constrained situations like parking lot trees and street trees. He also recommends plant and tree species as appropriate for particular locations in new planting plans to address the health, appearance, and safety.

Many existing developments are built with trees offering shade in parking lots, along sidewalks, and streets. Over time as the trees grow, they may become constrained if space is limited. This results in root uplift along sidewalks, streets, and driveways. Mark is addressing a situation like this by evaluating the mature trees in the parking lot at Golisano Children’s Hospital in HealthPark. After evaluating the condition of the trees and their planting beds, Mark will recommend solutions, which may include corrective actions such as soil amendments, the usage of structural soil, or the use of Silva Cells. Silva Cells are a modular suspended pavement system that supports root growth beneath pavement surfaces. Alternatively, the best option may be to remove existing trees and select a more appropriate species for the context. By consulting a Certified Arborist, you can determine the best course of action for existing or proposed trees in your project or community.

For more information, contact Mark Lerch, RLA, at [email protected].

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The City of Fort Myers Adopt-A-Canal Program Still Making an Impact

In 2010, the City of Fort Myers launched their Adopt-A-Canal program. This program was designed as an attempt to decrease the amount of litter that flows through the City’s municipal separate storm sewer system, ultimately affecting the health of the Caloosahatchee River. The City selected 10 canals covering 12 miles of waterways and encouraged local businesses to adopt one canal and remove debris on a quarterly basis.

Johnson Engineering chose to adopt Carrell Canal, the vital water way that discharges directly into the Caloosahatchee River and runs through a water basin we designed at the Fort Myers Country Club. By keeping this portion of the canal clean, it not only helps maintain the pristine appearance of the Fort Myers Country Club, it allows our water management system to run more efficiently and helps to improve the water quality before discharging into the river.

In 2012, Johnson Engineering received a first place Community Service Award from the City of Fort Myers for our successful efforts removing the most trash than any of the seven other entities participating in the program.

Although originally committing to two years, our employees have continued donating their time on a regular basis over the last seven years to collecting trash and debris from the canal. To date, volunteers have collected an astonishing 315 bags of debris, totaling more than 17,325 gallons of trash from the one mile stretch of canal.

We made this commitment because of our deep roots in the community dating back 71 years. Our firm has worked, in one capacity or another, on all of the canals in this program throughout our long history and we want to continue doing our part to help improve the health of our community.

For more information, contact [email protected].

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