Green building features and a lower carbon footprint are a natural for parks projects, such as one our company has worked on in Indiana. Though soaring construction costs have slowed the Lake County Parks project, construction work is now underway for an opening date of early 2008.
Construction cost increases during the past few years have proved a real challenge for many projects, including the Three Rivers Park Children's Play & Discovery Center in Gary, Indiana. In fact, costs have increased another 5% since our most recent article on construction cost increases, published in August 2006.
Our company completed the design of the 22,600-square-foot children's edutainment center for the Lake County Indiana Parks Departmentin late 2005. The construction bids were much higher than the originally estimated costs several years before, basically due to construction cost increases since the feasibility study in late 2003. By changing from a general contractor to construction management and by doing some of the work with in-house staff, Lake County Parks was able to reduce costs enough to proceed. The center is now under construction, with a projected opening date of early 2008.
The center incorporates many green building features, including a design with full daylighting - natural light throughout the facility will mean that during the daytime, no electric lights will be required, with the exception of a few closets and parts of the kitchen and restrooms. This will result in a significant energy savings, or as is termed today, a lower carbon footprint.
The mascot for the center will be an endangered Indiana bat. The center's brand name is still under development. Finding unique trademarkable names that fit the brand of a children's play and discovery center and work for both children and adults is no easy task.