Photos and Updates
April 2010 - Springtime Update
Toyota Elephant Passage construction is kicking into high gear this spring at Denver Zoo. Since groundbreaking on December 2 of last year, the 10-acre site has been cleared and excavation for utilities, pools and buildings has begun.
Fifteen hundred feet of the 100-year-old, 10-foot diameter brick storm main that runs through the Toyota Elephant Passage site is being replaced. The new storm main also will provide a clean flow of water to Duck Lake, planners say. As part of LEED certification for the project, Denver Zoo and Kiewit Building Group, the general contractor, will be recycling all material being removed.
The Zoo hopes Toyota Elephant Passage will become one of the first large-animal exhibits in the U.S. to be LEED certified through the United States Green Building Council. Toyota Elephant Passage will use renewable energy, recycled water, natural daylight and ventilation, efficient heating and cooling systems, and other green design and construction practices.
The Toyota Elephant Passage construction tower – for use as a viewing spot for donors, dignitaries and selected visitors – is expected to be completed in mid-May, according to the Zoo planning department. The tower will include a shaded area and seating for Zoo guests to view the project. Our younger guests can play along with the contractors in a large sand box that will allow them to re-enact the construction work on the other side of the fence.
A biomass gasification system – which turns human trash and animal waste into energy – is one of the most exciting parts of Toyota Elephant Passage. The gasification system will convert more than 90 percent of the Zoo’s waste into usable energy to power Toyota Elephant Passage. The Zoo’s prototype will be displayed along the construction fence. Periodic demonstrations will be held throughout the construction period. The trailer will arrive at the Zoo in mid-May.
Preliminary estimates suggest the conversion of Zoo waste into usable energy could save as much as $150,000 a year in energy costs. Denver Zoo’s landfill contributions will be reduced by 1.5 million pounds per year as the Zoo nears its goal to become a “zero-waste” facility.
Excavation has begun for several building foundations as well as pool construction and rockwork for Habitat F. Visitors can view these activities through one of six viewing windows along the construction fence. Visit the Zoo and this Web site often to watch Toyota Elephant Passage come to life!
See the latest construction update.