mars-education-center.JPGMars Education Center Receives Prestigious LEED Certification Ticonderoga, N.Y. - The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has recently granted Fort Ticonderoga's Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center at Fort Ticonderoga a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDtm) certification. The prestigious certification is a national accreditation honor given to buildings that have been rated as "green" for their efforts to minimize negative impacts on the environment, and that actually make a positive contribution through their structure and design. Beth Hill, Executive Director, said "In keeping with the Fort's long tradition of stewardship and conservation we were committed to constructing a ‘green building' within our 18th century fortification.  The Mars Education Center clearly reflects our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship." The LEED certification was awarded after the successful completion of a  rigorous two-year evaluation based on environmental factors including reduced site disturbance, energy efficient lighting, water conserving plumbing fixtures, and indoor air quality management.  According to Hill, "The biodiversity and natural significance of the Fort Ticonderoga peninsula were just as important to the armies who occupied the site more than 250 years ago as they are today. We are dedicated to programs rooted in all aspects of Fort Ticonderoga's history and its relevance to today's issues. By educating our visitors on these matters in a space that clearly reflects our commitment to responsible environmental stewardship, we hope to emphasize the importance of preserving and respecting the natural world for future generations." According to Andrew Wright, building architect, "The feature with the largest reduction in energy use is the geo-thermal heating and cooling system. Taking advantage of the energy in water from three deep wells, the heating and cooling needs of the entire building is met through sophisticated heat pumps." The design and construction team for the Mars Education Center was lead by Tonetti Associates Architects and Breadloaf Corporation with careful oversight of the Fort staff.  The certification was achieved through careful selection of materials and building practices. The building, constructed on the site of the original French magazin du Roi, is a faithful reflection of the warehouse that preceded it. The interior is a 21st century Mars Education Center providing visitors with new opportunities to understand the Fort's rich history and includes two classrooms, offices for education and interpretive staff, the Great Room which accommodates 200 guests, and a state-of-the-art exhibition space.  The Mars Education Center offers an unparalleled learning environment for students, community and visitors to enjoy the facility year round and has been a dynamic center of learning since it opened in 2008 thanks to the generous support of Forrest and Deborah Mars.             Fort Ticonderoga is a private not-for-profit historical site that ensures that present and future generations learn from the struggle, sacrifices, and victories that shaped North America and changed world history.  Fort Ticonderoga offers programs, tours, demonstrations and exhibits each day from 9:30am-5pm, May 20 - Oct. 20. A full schedule and information on events, including the upcoming Evening Garrison Ghost Tours Oct. 22-23 and Oct. 29-30, from 7 p.m. through 9 p.m., can be found at http://www.fortticonderoga.org/. Photo: Mars Education Center Contact: Beth Hill Fort Ticonderoga     Phone: 518-585-2921 E-mail: Bhill@fort-ticonderoga.org