Atkins’ construction management, inspection services help Dinosaur National Monument Quarry Visitor Center achieve LEED Gold certification - July 25, 2012
Denver, CO — Fifteen hundred dinosaur bones are once again on public display after a five-year hiatus in Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado. The bones are displayed at the newly reconstructed Quarry Visitor Center and refurbished Quarry Exhibit Hall.
The bones may be antiquated, but the “green” visitor center is brand new. The visitor center project was recently LEED® certified to the Gold level, even though the initial goal was to meet LEED Silver certification. Atkins provided construction management and inspection services for the project on behalf of its client, the National Park Service (NPS).
Built in 1957-58 near Jensen, Utah, the original visitor center encompassed an exposed quarry wall embedded with roughly 1,500 dinosaur bones discovered in the early 1900s. Over the years, the clay bentonite soil on which the center was constructed shifted, leaving the original building unsafe for use. The center and quarry wall were closed to the staff and the public in July 2006.
The new visitor center, which includes nearly 8,000 square feet for guest reception, exhibits, and administrative space, was separated from the bone-studded quarry wall and relocated nearby. The quarry wall is now contained in the Quarry Exhibit Hall.
The exhibit hall was designed and built on a foundation of steel micropile columns that extend into bedrock. This enables the structure to stand securely, independent of the expansion or shrinkage of the clay soil, which is caused in part by the area’s extreme weather conditions.
During rehabilitation of the exhibit hall, new building foundations were constructed, the curtain walls and window glazing systems were replaced, and the first- and second-level floors in the viewing galleries were rehabilitated. New systems were installed for roof drainage, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, power, lighting, and alarms. Walkways, roads, and drainage were added, along with building access that complies with the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards (UFAS) established by the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) of 1968.
Design and construction approaches that contributed to the new visitor center’s LEED Gold certification include a rooftop photovoltaic system, reduced energy and water usage, and reuse of existing materials from the original visitor center and exhibit hall. For example, the tongue-and-groove flooring in the old visitor center was repurposed for use as the ceiling in the new visitor center's exhibit hall and auditorium. Additionally, the visitor center features Forest Stewardship Council® (FCS)-certified lumber, low volatile organic compound (LVOC) materials, recycled construction waste, daylight-illuminated interior spaces, and a new pedestrian bridge created from a refurbished railroad car.
The new Quarry Visitor Center officially opened on September 28, 2011, followed by the Quarry Exhibit Hall on October 4, 2011; the Visitor Center received its LEED Gold certification on June 19, 2012. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an environmental-quality construction rating system developed by the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit trade organization based in Washington, DC.
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Atkins supported the National Park Service by providing construction management and inspection services for the new Quarry Visitor Center (shown here) and Quarry Exhibit Hall at Dinosaur National Monument in Dinosaur, Colorado.
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The Dinosaur National Monument’s new Quarry Visitor Center was LEED Gold certified on June 19, 2012.
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