National Park Service

Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center Receives Broad Recognition

Photo of the Visitor and Research Center Plaza at Mesa Verde National Park.

NPS Photo

Visitor and Research Center Plaza at Mesa Verde National Park.

September 2013

The Visitor and Research Center at Mesa Verde National Park has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy with a 2013 Federal Energy and Water Management Award and by Engineering News-Record Mountain States with a 2013 Best Project Award. The project has also received a “Two-Star” certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiativeā„¢ (SITESā„¢), a comprehensive rating system for sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of built landscapes. The design and construction of the project was managed by the Denver Service Center and the exhibit fabrication and installation was managed by Harpers Ferry Center. The new building opened to the public in December 2012 and offers visitor services and serves as a research and curatorial facility for the park.

“The Denver Service Center is honored to receive recognition for the design and construction of this environmentally-friendly facility. We are proud of our accomplishments in sustainable design and construction practices,” said Sam Whittington, Denver Service Center Director.

The Visitor and Research Center is a high-performance sustainable building that demonstrates the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, water conservation, recycling, and environmentally preferable materials to fulfill critical needs for park operations. The facility serves more than 570,000 park visitors each year, and houses more than three million artifacts requiring strict environmental controls.

The ecologically sensitive landscape design surrounding the building serves as an extension of the facility to educate the public about the archeological, biological, and physical resources of the park. The design directs stormwater through vegetated swales and retention ponds, and the area was revegetated with a mix of native and drought tolerant plants.

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