The Visitor and Education Center, near the entrance to Clark County’s 2900-acre Wetlands Park, is an excellent example of appropriate and ecologically responsible architecture. A pier system and flood control berms ensure safety from flash floods by elevating the 30,000 square foot facility above the 100-year flood plain while preserving the natural vegetation. The Center’s program spaces, exhibit hall, auditorium and classrooms support concentrated field study of wetlands ecology and nature’s unmatched water filtering and cleansing system.
Lochsa Engineering was challenged to provide a low-profile structural design that would allow the Center to fit integrally with the natural environment. The result was a cast-in-place mild reinforced concrete and steel framed structure supported by 36-inch diameter piers and laterally braced by concrete shear walls and special concentric steel braced frames. Civil & Surveying design services included parking lot development, site access, site grading, underground utilities and topographic survey. A lift station was added to the site due to elevation constraints. Flood control design efforts included the hydrologic modeling of the large watershed impacting the Wetlands site and hydraulic modeling of the Tropicana Channel flow split around the project site, as well as hydraulic design of a perimeter earthen channel and roadway culverts. The project was designed to achieve a Gold Level LEED Certification rating.