Hendrick Construction Inc. won a contract to expand the North Carolina Zoo’s polar bear exhibit to create space for new polar bears, as well as allow caretakers to establish a breeding program.
The $6 million project will feature a new exhibit with a splash pool, cooling areas and digging pits, as well as a new visitors’ plaza. Hendrick will build a 5,500-sq.-ft. holding facility with a maternity den, a 4,500-sq.-ft. visitor building and an 800-sq.-ft. interpretive viewing shelter for visitors.
The purpose of the exhibit is to educate visitors about the plight of polar bears and the broader issues of habitat loss and global climate change.
“Polar bears are and always have been our most popular animal at the zoo, and they’ve been in quite a lot of trouble in the wild,” said North Carolina Zoo General Curator Ken Reininger. “Not many people get to go to the Arctic and see polar bears or the impacts of global climate change, and our exhibit will help people draw a connection between the two.”
The project requires renovating 2,000 sq. ft. of the existing polar bear holding facility, which is part of the zoo’s Rocky Coast attraction. Hendrick will make improvements to the life support systems for the polar bears, as well as the seals and sea lions. And, Hendrick will upgrade the polar bear pool and viewing glass, and build a new shade structure over the existing exhibit overlook.
“We’re thrilled to be involved with another exciting attraction for the zoo,” said Roger Hendrick, president of Hendrick Construction. “It’s a challenging project because we need to plan our construction activities so as not to disrupt the other animals.”
The expansion project was designed with environmentally sustainable features, such as recycled materials, storm water drainage strategies, and energy-efficient fixtures and mechanical systems.
“This is a landmark project for our state,” said Kristen Hess of HH Architecture, the Raleigh, N.C.based project architect. “Polar bears are poster animals for global climate change, and we’re thrilled to be involved with something that will educate our children about the importance of the issue.”
The project is scheduled to begin this fall, with the new exhibit opening to the public in spring 2013.
Hendrick Construction, Inc. is a Charlotte, N.C.-based general contractor that provides commercial construction services throughout the Southeast. The company’s portfolio includes facilities for corporate headquarters, manufacturing, industrial, health care and bio-tech companies, as well as schools, government buildings, entertainment venues and restaurants.
For more information, visit www.hendrickconstruction.com.