Construction Award
New Building (under $5 million) tie

Point Defiance Zoo Kidsí Zone

Location: Tacoma
Contractor: Absher Construction Co.
Owner: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium/Metro Parks Tacoma
Architect: BCRA
Engineers: PSCA (structural), Hultz/BHU/Cross (mechanical, electrical)
Contract amount: $1.9 million




Photos courtesy AGC of Washington
Kidsí Zone at Point Defiance Zoo has four buildings, three play areas and three animal exhibits.

Absher Construction Co. built the new childrenís recreation area at the Point Defiance Zoo using a variety of custom materials and unique construction methods. Four building structures, three play areas and three live animal exhibits are contained within a small area.

Contact Junction is a large geodesic dome that houses interactive exhibits and an animal petting area. The tarp covering the dome called for a specific material from a New Hampshire contractor that was unable to complete the tarp. With only weeks until project completion, Absher located a local contractor that produced the material in time for the grand opening.

A grasshopper-shaped barn, custom-imprinted play surfaces, and parallel bars designed to mimic bird flight are just a few more unique features.

Shotcreted caves contain specially-heated rocks to keep wallabies warm so they would be allowed clearance from the Australian government.


Photo courtesy AGC of Washington
This grasshopper-shaped barn is home to several animals in the petting area.

With a fall start and spring finish, concrete work had to be carefully managed and the custom play surface had to be placed in May due to its weather sensitivity.

Erosion control was monitored to prevent mud and runoff from entering existing exhibits and animal habitats.

The zoo remained fully operational during the project, and Absher had zero injuries including project staff, visiting public or animals.



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