Project Spotlight | Oregon
On Thursday, May 5, the Oregon Zoo Elephant Lands Habitat was awarded the 2016 Project of the Year by the Oregon Daily Journal of Commerce. This prestigious award honors the best building and construction projects in Oregon and Southwest Washington. GBI worked with Lease Crutcher Lewis from the start of this project in 2013 to its completion in November of 2015. The $57 million project was funded by a community-supported 2008 zoo bond measure and was designed to quadruple the Asian elephant habitat from 1.5 acres to over six. Not only was the size of the habitat increased, but the infrastructure was improved with state-of-the-art upgrades to enhance the elephants’ quality of life and to create an environment more representative of their natural habitat. Included in the project are the Forest Hall and elephant barn buildings, which, when combined, form one of the world’s largest indoor elephant facilities.
This project achieved LEED Silver Certification; GBI assisted in meeting the criteria by reusing heavy timber to create windscreen walls and also recycling crushed concrete and CMU from the demolition as fill material. In addition, a rainwater collection tank and a vortex filter were installed; the system collects and filters rain runoff for use in the building’s wastewater system. PETA was also involved in this project and mandated that the elephants’ living area could be no smaller than the 1.5 acres provided by the original habitat. Because of this, the project was broken into five phases so that the elephants could be moved around during construction while still maintaining the minimum area.
The Elephant Lands project was the fourth of eight major projects funded by the zoo bond. Following the completion of this project, the foreman, Keith Mocan, and the project manager, Brady Stevens, began working on the fifth project, the Oregon Zoo Education Center, which was awarded in October of 2015. The Oregon Region is excited to soon be bidding the sixth project, the Polar Bear Habitat, and with the successful completion of the last two projects, we have high hopes to continue working at the Oregon Zoo through the final bond projects in 2020.