Mammoth Cave Holds Open House to Show Off New Visitor Center

November 26, 2012 / Kentucky, United States, North America
Mammoth Cave National Park Entrance Sign

Mammoth Cave National Park Entrance Sign. Photo via NPS

With the completion of the second and final phase of its visitor center renovation project, Mammoth Cave National Park will be holding a public open house tomorrow, Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, from 3:30 to 5:00 pm.

The project began in 2007 with the first phase, the demolition of the administrative building. It was removed to make way for a new spacious lobby including the information desk, ticket sales, and restrooms.

Upon completing Phase I in 2010, the second phase was able to begin. In Phase II, the old visitors center was stripped down to the shell and rebuilt for as a space for exhibits, office space, and a book store.

This is a moment we want to share with our friends and neighbors. 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. Sarah Craighead, Park Superintendent

Designed to be gold-level certified “green” building by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the building using the latest innovations in sustainable materials, and energy and water conservation.

Some of the features of the project include:

  • Reuse of waste materials – 96 percent of non-hazardous waste from the old building has been sent to a recycler or reused as of April 6, 2012. All the masonry material from the old administrative building was used on site for landscape fill; 91 percent of construction waste has been re-used / recycled, as of April 6, 2012.
  • Installation of recycled materials in the new visitor center – as of April 6, 2012, recycled materials are incorporated in 29 percent of the new visitor center construction. Faux slate roof shingles are made of 100% recycled rubber/plastics. Glue laminated beams are post-production wood, reshaped to form large beams rather than using old growth trees.
  • The sandstone in the building was quarried from within 500 miles of the park (Tennessee).
  • As of April 6, 2012, 60 percent of the wood used in the visitor center comes from certified sustainably managed forest.
  • Counter tops are made of bamboo, a rapidly renewable material.
  • Natural light reaches virtually every room in the visitor center. Light tubes (through ceiling) reflect natural light into an interior restroom and hallway; all office spaces can view the sky. Numerous windows and a solar tracking skylight above the information desk take advantage of sunlight.
  • The air vent or “chimney” above the information desk allows for venting of hot air from building to enhance cooling, decreasing use of air conditioning.
  • Solar power – 103 solar panels installed on the roof will generate electricity (29 kilowatts) for building use. The photovoltaic system will be able to sell unused power to Kentucky Utilities.
  • Water conservation – visitor center restrooms feature waterless urinals, low-flow fixtures, and a 30,000-gallon cistern that captures rainwater off the roof for reuse to flush toilets.
  • A “building dashboard” exhibit (touchscreen computer) will display the percent of power generated by the solar panels and the amount of captured rainwater being used at any given time.
  • The building is landscaped with native Kentucky species.

Mammoth Cave celebrates its new visitor center [Mammoth Cave National Park]

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  1. November 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Congratulations a real example of sustainable project.

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