Mammoth Cave celebrates its new visitor center
Contact: Vickie Carson, 270-758-2192
MAMMOTH CAVE, Ky. - Superintendent Sarah Craighead invites the public to celebrate the completion of the visitor center renovation and exhibit installation at an open house 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
"This is a moment we want to share with our friends and neighbors," said Craighead. "The visitor center architecture, both inside and out, is the classic National Park Service style. The long-awaited exhibits are first-class and will be enjoyed by staff and visitors for many generations."
"This has been a very green rehabilitation project," said Steve Kovar, the park's facility manager who provided oversight of project. "Practically everything from the old building - bricks, concrete, wiring - was recycled, and the foot print of the new visitor center is virtually the same as the old one. The result is amazing."
Phase I, under the direction of Martin Construction (Louisville, Ky.), began with demolition of the administrative building in 2007, to make way for a spacious lobby, information desk, ticket sales, and restrooms. Funding for Phase I ($6 million) came from fees collected in the park (cave tour tickets and campground fees) through the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act. Phase I was completed in 2010.
"We continued to work out of the old visitor center while Phase I was under construction," said Mike Adams, chief of interpretation at Mammoth Cave, who oversaw development and instillation of the exhibits. "The first time my staff stepped into the new lobby, with its vaulted ceiling and picture windows, they were blown away. Now with the exhibits in place, Mammoth Cave is a showplace to rival any other national park across the country."
In Phase II, Perry Bartsch, Jr. Construction Company (Asheville, N.C.), stripped the rest of the old building down to a shell, and then rebuilt it for exhibits, office space, and book sales. The exhibits were fabricated and installed Southern Custom Exhibits (Anniston, Ala.) Funding for Phase II ($10.4 million) was provided via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Demolition, recycling of materials and renovation were all conducted under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines, with the intent that the completed visitor center will receive gold-level certification as a sustainable, "green" building. LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council, which encourages environmentally friendly design and construction: http://www.usgbc.org/
Light refreshments will be provided by Eastern National, a 501(C) (3) not-for-profit cooperating association which sells educational material within the visitor center.
- NPS -
The Mammoth Cave National Park visitor center is a modern, sustainable showcase. Its green methods and features include:
Did You Know?
Creatures that spend their entire lives in Mammoth Cave adapt to the dark world. Some types of cave fish, for example, do not grow eyes – supporting these extra unnecessary organs would consume precious energy in their nutrient-poor environment.