Location: Stanton W. Mead Education and Visitor Center, Milladore
Architect: Thomas Brown, Architect, Stevens Point, WI
Products Used: County Stone®, County Block®, County Pavers®
More than 2,500 students, of all ages from Wausau to Stevens Point, already have visited the 6,208-square-foot facility, which opened in January 2006 and won the 2006 Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Award of Excellence, bestowed as a joint venture by seven organizations. It was one of four environmentally oriented awards already won by the center, which is a showcase for five forms of renewable energy – wind, photovoltaic, solar hot water, wood-fired biomass, and geothermal.
In addition to the public demonstration programs hosted at the facility, the center also serves as a severe weather shelter. And true to its spirit of being an environmentally conscientious facility that aims to lift visitors’ appreciation and knowledge of their natural surroundings, the center resembles a vast bird preparing to take flight.
The project architect is hoping his diligence to environmentally friendly details will result in a Gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design® and the LEED Green Building Rating System™. By using environmentally responsible building and landscaping materials and finishes, concrete construction products can contribute toward this goal.
Products were evaluated and chosen based on their environmental impact, including local availability, recycled content, toxic components, durability, and resource depletion. Additional sustainable building strategies included reduced site disturbances to reduce erosion, reduced impervious surfaces to minimize runoff, and non-irrigated drought-resistant plantings.
More than 35,000 County Pavers® in an earth tone Hickory color, and 600 units of County Block® Retaining Wall system in a custom color, enhance the entry and areas around the facility. The concrete hardscaping products also blend with the County Stone® Old World Tumbled concrete masonry units used for the building’s rustic exterior veneer.
At either end, beneath the “wingtips” of this architectural bird, is a roughly 1,000-square-foot covered patio that opens up to the 30,000-acre wildlife preserve. About 1,000 square feet of County Paver walkways course through the grounds, connecting the main building to an outdoor amphitheater where County Block comprises steps and seating for presentations and various other entertainment and educational opportunities.
A combined design team of LEED-accredited architects and engineers worked together to ensure a coordinated effort for incorporating sustainable building strategies in all aspects of the project. As a result, the center has offered numerous building tours for the public and private sectors interested in seeing its renewable energy systems and sustainable building practices.