Dallas Zoo Simmons Hippo Outpost
Best Project

Owner: Dallas Zoo Management Inc.
Lead Design Firm: CLR Design
General Contractor: Turner Construction Co.
Civil Engineer: Pacheco Koch
Structural/MEP Engineer: Encotech Engineering Consultants
Life Support System Engineer: TJP Engineering
Animal Specialty Structural Engineer: Krech Ojard
Subcontractors: Tri-Dal; Edge Concrete; Bratton Steel; Fauna Research; North Texas Drywall; Southwest Vault; Hammerhead International; RonParco; Spachaus; Prism Electric; Complete Landsculpture

The Dallas Zoo’s $10-million, 2.2-acre African waterhole habitat is now home to two large Nile hippopotamuses, Red River hogs and an okapi herd. The scope of work included a hippo barn, highland hippo hut and a 120,000-gallon watering hole pool that features a 24-ft by 8-ft underwater viewing window built with two 2.5-in.-thick, 7-ft by 12-ft panes of glass.

Other features include shotcrete rock outcroppings, mud banks, raised planters, a waterfall and two separate zookeepers’ demonstration areas.

The life support system recycles the 120,000-gallon pool in 50 minutes, removing waste and providing clarity to the water for the health of the hippos as well as the underwater-viewing experience. A system of pipes, pumps, screens and filters cleans and purifies all the water in the hippo habitat as well as three smaller holding pools located in the hippo barn.

The project team had to minimize the impact of construction on the zoo’s day-to-day operations while providing access for the subcontractors and workers to complete their work. In addition, the team worked to ensure the safety of visitors, zoo employees, construction workers and the animals by reducing noise and vibration to minimal levels.

Lean principles and practices such as pull planning and enhanced communication reduced waste and improved trade and contractor relationships. This contributed to lower costs and helped to maintain the schedule.

An in-house specialist for animal exhibits and life-support systems worked with the team and the zoo, and the team began start-up procedure coordination meetings six weeks before construction to avoid on-field issues.

The project team completed the project on time and within budget.

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