[slideshow] The Cape Eleuthera Institute (CEI) welcomed government officials, Bahamian dignitaries and esteemed guests to the grand opening of its Hallig House. The event was celebrated within the context of the One Eleuthera Foundation’s Earth Day Weekend, as a symbol of how community partnerships with shared vision can support a future of sustainable development in The Bahamas.
Chris Maxey, co-founder of the Cape Eleuthera Island School, encouraged event guests to envision the impact of innovative green design technologies: “Imagine building systems that are a net exporter of energy and water, that use the sun to heat water and to cool living spaces, that process waste in a responsible way that helps restore ecosystems and beautify the seascape.”
Hallig House was designed as an educational model for island nations. Led by Warren Wagner of W3 Architects and designed by a team of conservation systems specialists, the building features innovative elements, which solve specific regional issues. The building’s structure and shape, construction materials, and renewable energy and waste management systems all demonstrate how local and national development can maximize locally available resources while minimizing impact on local environments.
The opening marked the first time that the Cape Eleuthera Island School has been honored by the presence of His Excellency Sir Arthur Foulkes Governor-General to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. He gave the keynote address at the event, seen in the video below.
His Excellency thoughtfully articulated the history of The Bahamas, its current economic and environmental state, and warned “the beauty and abundance and richness that we take for granted are in danger. Our coral reefs, the source of marine wealth, are in danger.”
He placed the Cape Eleuthera Island School’s sustainability initiatives within the context of a greater global movement. “Among the peoples of the world who have reason at all to answer the call to mobilize in order to save our environment and the future of humankind of the planet those of us who live in these blessed islands should be at the forefront.”
He recognized the achievements of the organization, adding that “what is happening here at the Cape Eleuthera Island School is, I believe, not only exciting but essential and, perhaps, even indispensable to meeting the environmental challenges confronting us.”
Honored dignitaries who spoke at the opening also included Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China Hu Shan and President of the Senate Lynn Holowesko. Also in attendance were The Honorable James Oswald Ingraham Member of Parliament for Central and South Eleuthera, representatives from the U.S. Embassy, and Her Excellency Giulia Broghese Ambassador and Plenopotentiary of San Marino.
CEI and the commitment to research, education, and outreach have been growing since being formed in 2007. Early on, the Board of Directors identified the need for a space to house scientists, donors, researchers, and other special guests on campus to share the expertise of their work. The multifunctional and collaborative space—Hallig House—now provides a context for idea sharing and educational collaboration.
The creation of Hallig House was made possible by a network of partnerships including local contractor John Norris Carey, and through the charitable contributions of Bobbie Hallig, Daniel Prigmore, Francesca Forrestal, Sally Searle, and Fred Danforth.
His Excellency finished his keynote address by congratulating all benefactors who were responsible for the creation of Hallig House, calling it a “magnificent experiment” in building and design.
Visitors are invited to tour the Hallig House and the Cape Eleuthera Institute’s ecologically designed campus. For more information on design systems or educational programming, visit ceibahamas.org