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Water marks

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"They have broken ground, so there's nothing more we can do about it," says the Sierra Club's Mary-Slater Linn regarding Seminole Community College's new Oviedo campus. Because 60 percent of the campus sits below the Econ River flood plain, the Sierra Club had been trying to block the construction. Concerns about storm-water run-off persist, even though the college brought in a herd of consultants to testify to the soundness of the plans. "I felt like I was at an Army meeting when I met with the board," says Linn. "They had every consultant in town there." But Linn wasn't convinced that the site won't flood. "There are ponds right next to the buildings," she exclaims. "I wouldn't even build my house next to a retention pond." How, then, can the college get away with the construction? "Because they carefully managed to find the one oasis `on the 180 acres` that's above the wetlands," says Linn.

Linn admits she likes the unobtrusive design of the campus, with buildings that feature large windows. And in searching for the silver lining, she says the fight against SCC gave the environmentalists a reason to learn the laws and regulations governing school-construction money. "We learned our lesson," says Linn. "We'll make sure that state funds are not used in the future to build on wetlands."


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