Highland Recreation Complex


  • Location: Largo, FL

  • Project Team: Gould Evans, George F. Young

  • Completion: 2011

The Highland Recreation Complex is a community center and facility designed to envelope the participant into the historic environment of a Long Leaf Pine forest in Pinellas County, Florida.

The Highland Recreation Complex is a renovation and addition to the existing aquatic, baseball, and tennis facility located on 33 acres in the heart of Largo, Florida. It is located on Highland Avenue where the onsite trails connect to a community wide multi-purpose trail system. The community trail was integrated through the site, connecting the Recreation Complex walks and trails to the LEED Platinum Largo Community Center.

The site required very careful planning and design to minimize impacts to the last existing Long Leaf Pine forest and extensive native and constructed wetlands. These provide habitat for a variety of wading and migrating birds including the Roseate Spoonbill, the Wood Stork, Cormorant, and the Little Blue Heron. Sustainable concepts put into place included the creation of bio-swale storm water collection channels between parking islands, reducing the need for landscape irrigation. The design provided a methodology for creating a sustainable landscape that integrated storm water retention as a beautifying component that the wildlife would love.