The State of Alabama has selected Business Council of Alabama member Volkert, Inc. for construction, management, and environmental compliance services for the Gulf State Park restoration, Volkert announced.
The $85.5 million project will provide ecologically sensitive enhancements to Gulf State Park, a 6,150-acre park in Baldwin County, and building a new beachfront lodge.
The project will include dune and habitat restoration for beach mice and nesting sea turtles, Volkert said.
The project, expected to be completed in 2018, will be a national model of environmental and economic resilience.
Volkert’s involvement dates to the origins of the Gulf State Park site 40 years ago.
“Our company worked closely with (the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) in designing and managing construction of the entire park in the 1970s and on many improvements since then,” Volkert CEO Perry Hand said. “So, in many respects, this is similar to visiting an old friend.”
Hand is a member of the BCA Board of Directors.
Volkert and construction management services partner, Skanska USA, will work with nationally and internationally recognized project design and master planning teams, including Sasaki Associates, Architecture Works, Lake Flato, and Rabun Rasche Rector Reese, to create landmark facilities that meet the highest standards of sustainable building.
Volkert has decades of experience with this environmentally sensitive site and has already performed all of the extensive required environmental permits. Volkert said it will oversee stringent environmental compliance in all phases of the construction and improvements to the park.
The project will include building a lodge in Gulf State Park to replace the 1970s-era lodge that was destroyed by hurricanes Ivan in 2004 and Katrina in 2005. A lodge and meeting facility will improve public access to park beaches, trails, freshwater ecosystems, and other natural resources, as well as serve as a model of resilient, environmentally friendly coastal development, Volkert said.
The project’s enhancements for the park’s 600,000 annual visitors will include nearly 10 miles of new walking, cycling, or running trails, upgrades to 3.5 miles of existing park trails, and better connections throughout the park to minimize driving. New signs and kiosks will provide environmental information.
The project use innovative techniques and native plantings in rebuilding the equivalent of an area of more than 50 football fields of protective dunes that provide habitat for important wildlife. The project will include restoration of natural habitat for wildlife including beach mice and nesting sea turtles.
A new environmental information center and a research and education center will be devoted to indoor and outdoor education. An interactive exhibit space near the pier will include meeting space and classrooms as well as indoor and outdoor educational information devoted to the park’s unique environment, Volkert said.
A research and education center will be added adjacent to the park’s existing nature center and will expand capacity for research and education programs with classrooms and laboratories under a year-round program of environmental education for students K-12 and beyond.
The restoration project will be launched with an $85.5 million allocation of early restoration dollars from BP to compensate for lost recreational use visits to the park as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. There is no taxpayer funding involved. The entire project is expected to be complete by 2018.
Additionally, the Volkert construction management team will provide design and construction phase sustainability consulting and enhanced commissioning services.
“This will truly be a unique facility and an amazing opportunity for Alabama,” said Leon Barkan, Volker’s vice president for program and construction management. “Volkert is incredibly honored to be selected to deliver on the vision for this project.”
For 90 years Volkert has been a leading provider of engineering and construction management services. Volkert’s history of successfully delivering hundreds of public facility capital projects makes it able to provide comprehensive construction phase management for the project, including cost estimating, scheduling, and bid packaging.
Volkert headquartered in Mobile is an employee-owned engineering firm serving state and federal agencies, local and municipal governments, private industry, and select international clients. Founded in 1925, it has offices in 10 states and the District of Columbia staffed by 800 planners, multi-disciplinary engineers, environmental specialists, program/construction managers, real estate specialists and landscape architects.
Engineering News Record lists Volkert as No. 106 in the Top 500 Design Firms in the United States.
For more information visit: http://gulfstateparkproject.ua.edu/.
– Dana Beyerle