NPS Soliciting Proposals on Caverns' Visitor Center Rehab
Contact: Bridget Litten, 505.785.3024
Contact: Joy Jamison, 303.969.2170
Carlsbad Caverns National Park superintendent John Benjamin announced today that the National Park Service (NPS) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) soliciting proposals from construction firms capable of renovating the park’s 50-year-old visitor center.
The visitor center project includes (1) the renovation and rehabilitation of the existing 34,000 square foot visitor center; (2) new construction of adjacent restroom facilities and two-story elevator and stairway for staff access; (3) a new commercial HVAC and control system; (4) new electrical systems; (5) a new membrane roof; (6) a new fire sprinkler system; (7) new fire and intrusion alarm systems; and (8) all new exterior and interior finishes, including asbestos and lead paint abatement.
Completed in 1957, the visitor center serves as the single visitor contact and assembly point for everyone entering Carlsbad Cavern. Every infrastructure component of the building has exceeded its useful life and no longer functions effectively or efficiently. The project includes renovating the concession-operated restaurant and gift shop, and the association bookstore.
While the building is under construction, all park operations will move into temporary trailers in the parking lot. There will be no interruption of park cave tours. Visitors will still be able to access Carlsbad Cavern via elevator or the natural entrance. However, for safety and security during the renovation, the park plans on closing the entrance gate at Whites City every night and reopening it each morning.
“Over the past year, we’ve had a lot of fits and starts on this thing,” said Benjamin. “But it looks like this really going to happen—probably starting in May. Whenever it happens, we’ll be ready, as the trailers for interim operations are already being delivered.”
The park received approval from the National Park Service Development Advisory Board in 2003 and again in 2005. The $7.5-million project, funded through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, is expected to take one year to complete.
A pre-proposal meeting for contractors is scheduled for 9:30 a.m., February 8, in the park’s visitor center theater. National Park Service personnel will bediscussing the technical criteria in the RFP as well as other contract issues. Afterwards, a group site visit/walkthrough of the building and surrounding area will take place. Project proposals must be received no later than February 26.
For more information, prospective bidders should review the information posted on the National Business Center website (http://ideasec.nbc.gov) and search for solicitation number N1211070902 or contact contract specialist Joy Jamison at 303.969.2170.
Did You Know?
Most of the formations—or speleothems—found inside Carlsbad Cavern today were active and growing during the last ice age when instead of having a desert above the cave, there were pine forests.