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Finding of No Significant Impact Signed for New Science and Resource Management Facility at Grand Canyon National Park

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Date: December 15, 2010
Contact: Maureen Oltrogge, 928-638-7779
Contact: Phil Fessler, 928-638-7362

 

Grand Canyon , Ariz. A Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was signed December 9, 2010, by John Wessels, Regional Director for Intermountain Region of the National Park Service paving the way for a new Science and Resource Management Facility at Grand Canyon National Park.

In November 2009, Grand Canyon National Park released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for construction of the new facility. Current Science and Resource Management offices are located in the old maintenance yard on Albright Street, which provide less than optimal working conditions in deteriorating warehouse-style buildings.

The EA evaluated two alternatives, a No Action Alternative and a National Park Service (NPS) Preferred Alternative, Alternative 2. The Preferred Alternative proposed construction of a new facility in a previously disturbed area adjacent the Magistrate's Office within the Grand Canyon Village National Historic Landmark District.

A revised EA, issued February 2010, was prepared in response to comments that were received. The revised EA included a No Action Alternative, the NPS Preferred Alternative and a third alternative that evaluated a proposed site just south and east of the park headquarters building. This location had once been the site of a gas station.   

Alternative 2, the NPS Preferred Alternative was selected for implementation. The building, which will greatly improve working conditions, will be designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Possible design components may include a rainwater catchment to irrigate vegetation; solar collectors to provide hot water for an in-floor heating system; passive solar to aid in building heating and cooling; natural cross ventilation to reduce energy consumption; solar tubes and energy efficient interior lighting; open office work stations to allow layout flexibility over the life of the building; exterior lighting to meet dark sky policy; and a compatible design sensitive to its location within the National Historic Landmark District.

During the public comment periods, several comments expressed concern with parking and traffic from construction of a new facility. The NPS has no immediate plans to construct additional parking at this site as no measurable increases in traffic associated with the facility are anticipated. The new facility will be constructed in an area centrally located to employee housing, allowing most Science and Resource Management employees to walk or bike to work. If it is found that parking is needed after building construction and occupancy, additional parking would be added to the north side of the alley behind Apache Street.

"We are excited about the new facility", stated Park Superintendent Steve Martin. He added, "Science and Resource Management staff is currently co-located in antiquated facilities that were constructed in the 1960s and 1980s to house maintenance and warehouse operations. The new facility will provide professional space in a more environmentally friendly building."

The FONSI and EA are available online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/grca. For questions and additional information, please contact Phil Fessler, Project Manager at 928-638-7362.

                                       -NPS-

Did You Know?

GRAND CANYON TRILOBITE

The Cambrian seas of the Grand Canyon were home to several kinds of trilobite, whose closest living relative is the modern horsehoe crab. They left their fossil record in the mud of the Bright Angel Shale over 500 million years ago.