August 25, 2010
Photo Feature: From the Ground Up
Hundreds of individuals, foundations, and corporations contributed to the Yellowstone Park Foundation’s successful $15 million capital campaign to build a new visitor education center at Old Faithful. After nearly two and a half years of construction, the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center opened to the public on August 25, 2010. It incorporates state-of-the-art educational exhibits and is a model of “green” building practices. The following are some photographs of the construction process, which helped earn it Gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The demolition of the small visitor facility that used to stand on the building site produced 541 tons of waste, yet more than 99% of it was either salvaged or recycled. Concrete from the old building foundation and surrounding plaza was recycled by crushing it on-site and reusing it as fill material for the new building. Besides being the best option for the environment, this significantly reduced transportation costs and avoided landfill costs.
Shortly after groundbreaking occurred, the building foundation was laid and perfectly sited within view of Old Faithful Geyser. The Center has a shallow foundation that prevents damage to the underground hydrothermal system of the Upper Geyser Basin.
Contractors employed special building techniques necessary for the structure to withstand Yellowstone’s seismic and geothermal activity.
Recycled steel was used to frame the entire building, and it was locally obtained to reduce both transportation costs and fuel emissions.
Construction crews worked throughout Yellowstone’s harsh winter. The temperature during some weeks did not rise above 0°F! In this photo, the building is starting to take shape, offering visitors a preview of the roofline, designed to echo that of the historic Old Faithful Inn.
In addition to a breathtaking, panoramic view of Old Faithful Geyser and the Upper Geyser Basin, the 26,000-square-foot interior will house innovative, interactive exhibits. Also, state-of-the-art lighting and climate control systems will reduce energy consumption and provide optimal indoor air quality.
The Visitor Education Center received an energy-saving and weatherproof wrapping in Tyvek CommercialWrap®, courtesy of a generous donation from DuPont Building Innovations.
October 2009... ready for interior work over the winter of 2009/2010.
The Yellowstone Park Foundation would like to thank all who generously donated, including the following major capital campaign donors, for making this dream a reality:
National Science Foundation
The Coca-Cola Foundation
Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Welcome! Before you visit the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center, you can get a preview by exploring the exhibits and viewing interactive media at the Old Faithful Virtual Visitor Center.
Photographs courtesy of the National Park Service.