Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge New Visitor Facility

C&S designed and provided construction management services for a new visitor center/administration facility for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The new energy-efficient facility at the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge (LINWR) Complex at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge is a hub for all eight refuges located on Long Island and is close to many communities and future refuge visitors.

The 17,000-square-foot building includes a visitor center and office space for the refuge complex employees, other service programs, and agency partners. The visitor center portion of the building includes educational and interactive exhibits, a multi-purpose room to support partnership projects, an environmental education laboratory, and other visitor services opportunities. The public areas contain displays of regional animal and plant life, including a 30-foot-tall oak tree, along with an aquarium displaying local fish species.

The center was designed to meet the LEED certification criteria for sustainability and energy efficiency, and is anticipated to meet the requirement for a Gold Certification.

The project features a number of key sustainability features. Permeable pavers and permeable pavement in selected areas are used to help in the stormwater management of the site. Biodetention basins are used across the site for additional stormwater management. The building will be heated and cooled using a geothermal loop field and heat pumps. With the exception of the standby generator, there are no fossil fuels on-site for building operation. Solar thermal collectors will be used for domestic hot water creation and photovoltaic panels for electrical production. Finish materials that have recycled content are rapidly renewable and are manufactured locally.

This project also included the design of a site master plan, which includes educational exhibits, extension of the walking trails, and a fishing pier.
C&S used Revit building information modeling (BIM) to create several concepts of massing and aesthetic to arrive at a structure that incorporates the language of coastal Long Island architecture, is economical and efficient, and minimizes the environmental impact to the wildlife refuge.

The Fish & Wildlife Service received $9.775 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the project. With projects funded by the ARRA, the schedule of design and construction was accelerated to meet funding mandates. The project was designed in less than six months and completed construction in 2011.