Cornerstone - Winter 2015 - (Page 14)

Great Apes Return to Houston W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. takes on a unique journey to create the Houston Zoo's African Gorilla Forest TO THE DELIGHT OF HOuSTONIANS young and old, gorillas have returned to the Houston Zoo after a hiatus of more than a decade. For the W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. team, that meant a unique opportunity to work on the 13-acre African Gorilla Forest, which opened Memorial Day weekend 2015. According to Houston Zoo officials, the project lasted four years-from raising the necessary funds to creating the state-of-the-art facility. "We're really excited to be opening this new exhibit. It's been 11 years since the Houston Zoo has had gorillas, and it's been four years in the making to have this amazing exhibit," Houston Zoo primate supervisor Jill Moyse said. W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. reported that, "while each project brings new challenges, it's not every day that you have to make sure every steel nut and screw head on your project is welded down so the occupants don't deconstruct the facility. That is just one of many fascinating details of this one-of-a-kind project." The New Residents The African Forest is home to seven western lowland gorillas (native to the dense rain forests of Angola, Cameroon and the Congo) who are divided into two groups. One group is made up of three male bachelors, who alternate spaces with another troop of gorillas, consisting of a family of three and another female gorilla. According to an April 5, 2015 Houston Chronicle article, "Three of the critically endangered great apes arrived by air-conditioned trailers (in March) from New  York (Bronx Zoo) and (the Audubon Zoo in) New Orleans, The entrance for the Houston Zoo African Gorilla Forest exhibition in August 2013. Everything needed for the jobsite was funneled through here. The W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. team stands behind the recognition plaque by the Zoo at the exhibit entrance. [L-R]: Ray Mancias, Project Executive; Laura Bellows, President & Chairman; Norm Molen, Superintendent; Mario Cossio, Project Engineer; and Chris Cardenas, Assistant Superintendent. The Visitor's Room 14 The Gathering Tent joining three who came in February from (the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia) South Carolina. They've spent the past weeks in quarantine, adapting to their $28 million, state-of-the-art digs." Not only are visitors exposed to the two troops of gorillas, but they also see red river hogs co-mingling in the space. The red river hog is a type of wild pig that is found in the forests and swamps of central and western Africa and shares the gorillas' habitat. The excitement surrounding the new exhibit is not just about being up close and personal with these endangered animals; it's also because Houston Zoo wants to increase awareness about their disappearing habitat and destruction. Miners, farmers and poachers slaughter adult gorillas and capture their babies for the pet trade. It is estimated that nearly 30,000 to 40,000 are left in the wild. Building a Sanctuary The African Gorilla Forest was accomplished in two phases. Phase I was the development of the landscaped berm to create an immersive jungle-like experience. The first phase took 1.5 years, allowing the landscape to grow in full. Phase II entailed the construction of the exhibit. Due to the layout of the site and working in a confined area, this project had to be built from the back of the site forward, according to W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. Additionally, to reduce disruption of the zoo's exhibits and ensure visitors' safety, construction work access was limited and restricted. Until the project's completion, one bridge was used for all manpower. All team members, equipment, deliveries, etc. had to be funneled through one entrance and exit. Once the team worked its way to the front of the site, the bridge was removed and Bellows used a staff/ personnel gate for only one month. Excavating the moat presented another challenging feat. The team started 14 feet Cornerstone

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cornerstone - Winter 2015

From the Chairman of the Board, Bill Scott, III
Meet Your New Board of Directors
Upskill Houston: The nation’s first business-led, community-wide, integrated effort to increase the “middle skills” workforce.
Berger Iron Works Receives AIA Houston Artisan of the Year Design Award
Great Apes Return to Houston: W. S. Bellows Construction Corp. takes on a unique journey to create the Houston Zoo’s African Gorilla Forest
Target Budget Design: Providing Value with Cost Certainty
Past Events
Member News
Index of Advertisers/

Cornerstone - Winter 2015