The next steps in the grizzly bear habitat renovation and bison reintroduction at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo were taken when the Great Bend City Council met Monday night.
Approved were a series of proposals for survey elevations to assure proper water drainage, and engineering and architectural services. Contact with were: Central Kansas Surveying and Mapping Inc. of Great Bend for surveying services in the amount not to exceed $7,500; PEC of Wichita, the city’s on-call engineering consultants, for engineering services in the amount of $34,000; and zoo specialists GLMV Architecture of Wichita for architectural services in the amount of $56,000.
City Administrator Howard Partington said they hope to get engineering work started by year’s end and start breaking ground in January. The renovations may be done in phases to better accommodate the needs of the bears and to allow the project to get underway sooner.
In August, the council authorized Mayor Mike Allison to sign the architectural services agreement with GLMV Architecture to develop a concept design for the changes. The agreement to produce the conceptual master plan will likely cost about $10-11,000.
The city’s on-call engineering firm, Wichita-based Professional Engineering Consultants, recommended GLMV. GLMV has worked with zoos all over Kansas and around the globe.
This cost more than doing the work with city personnel, but it is part of a change in direction. The city wants to move to more professional exhibits and want to get professionals involved.
The city was awarded two gives totally $230,000 from the Dorothy M. Morrison Foundation for zoo improvements. The concepts created by GLMV may take more than that to bring to fruition, and Parting ton said the city may apply to the foundation for help with the design fees.
When the Morrison Foundation funds were accepted by the council in March, it was noted the first gift, for $130,000, will be used to upgrade the grizzly bear exhibit. It will add 260 feet of fence, a shelter house and a pond with running water. The bears will also get shade structures, a climbing wall and a zip line. In this case the zip line isn’t a ride — it’s a cable on a pulley that anything can be attached to so it can be batted or played with, making the item hard to catch. An example of one can be found now at the zoo’s lion exhibit; it holds a large ball.
The second gift of $100,000 will be used to reintroduce bison to the zoo. The first step will be to restore the exhibit space with new fencing. The gift will also pay for a shelter/hay shed, holding chute and stock tank.
Sidewalks, landscaping and signs will be included in both exhibits.
However, these projects may grow and change, depending on what the master plan suggests.