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Continued from page 1 access, not to mention that desired public The building, designed by SMP Architects with
contact point for visitors to learn more MEP design by LLI Engineering and geothermal
slated to become the new Ohiopyle State about the area. system by CJL Engineering, is positioned to achieve
Park Office/Laurel Highlands Falls Area LEED Gold certification.
Visitor Center. The project design was A number of sustainable features were
launched in 2008 and would be CEC’s included in the design. A closed-loop reused to flush toilets. The specific system
fourth under that agreement. CEC led design geothermal well system relies on consistent that the project employed is known as an
discussions for the facility and provided site temperatures found 300–400 feet below Eco-Machine™.
civil engineering, geotechnical engineering, the ground to pre-heat or pre-cool the
surveying, and landscape architecture building before using the HVAC system, and “We were trying to utilize the greenest
services—with a goal to have the facility the state park office wing is actually below technology available, but use it where
achieve LEED® Gold certification. grade, using the earth as an insulator to and when it made sense, not simply to
prevent thermal loss. Additional cooling say we used it,” said Hall.
“From day one, the design discussion had and stormwater retention and management
to factor in a certain amount of sensitivity are achieved through two green roofs: one The project was put on a shelf for
because of the view of the waterfall over the exhibit wing and one over the state several years due to lack of funding,
and general visual landscape,” said Jim park office wing. Stormwater is filtered by until a grant from the Federal Highway
Kalp, Architectural Designer and Project the green roofs and collected in a tank to Administration’s National Scenic Byways
Coordinator for DCNR’s Bureau of Facility supplement irrigation, minimizing the use Program was obtained. The submission
Design and Construction. “We wanted to of potable water. Because the state park played into the project’s location along
make sure the project had minimal impact office wing is below grade, there is a Route 381, considered a scenic byway, and
on the viewshed.” seamless transition between standing on U.S. Route 40, also known as the National
the ground and standing on the green roof. Highway, just a couple miles from the
Between the mountains, the river valley and park. The $4 million grant also helped to
floodplain, there was limited level ground Around this time, Ohiopyle Borough was direct interpretive aspects highlighting
to work with without disturbing nature. experiencing a capacity issue with its key components of the facility.
But developing a sensitive site was only municipal wastewater treatment facility.
one piece of the puzzle. “The team would Park officials didn’t want to exacerbate “We always planned for interpretive exhibits
need to find a way to pull all of the various that situation, so the decision was made to highlight the building’s features,” Hall
uses of the park into one central design, to treat wastewater produced by the new notes. The indoor treatment tanks where
accommodating vehicular and pedestrian building on site, significantly reducing biological polishing takes place and the
circulation and a number of differing sewer usage. CEC designed a biological green roofs have educational signage.
interests through one narrow, linear site wastewater treatment system consisting of Outside displays showcase flora and fauna,
development envelope,” said Michael a primary treatment tank that then flows to the historic aspects of the region, and the
Takacs, CEC Principal and head of the firm’s a constructed wetland, and indoor tanks roles played by transportation in the area—
Landscape Architecture practice. These containing microorganisms and tropical rail, rafting, and the arrival of the automobile.
included the new state park office, four plants to polish the water, which is then
commercial rafting operations, kayak and The official grand opening and formal
boat launch permitting, and general river dedication ceremony took place on June 11,
2015. “Our goals were to create as green a
The “extensive” green roof built over the exhibit wing has a thin profile of soil media (3"–6") and uses a tray facility as possible, yet still be functional;
system pre-grown with a variety of sedums and plants. to get people excited about the region, not
just the park; and also to get people back
out and exploring more,” said Hall. “We’ve
been thrilled not only with the way the green
aspects function, but also with the reaction
we’ve been getting from the public. From
what we can tell, we’ve been successful in
what we set out to do.” n
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