When Hurricane Ike pounded the Gulf Coast in September of 2008, it caused a great deal of destruction to U.S. Fish and Wildlife properties. Among the hardest hit in the area were Moody, McFaddin, Anahuac, and Texas Point Refuges which comprise the Texas Chenier Plains Complex. The damages to Service facilities in this popular area inspired plans for the Recovery Act funded Texas Chenier Plains Visitor’s Center and Administration Building. This 15,000 square foot edifice to be built on 30 acres in Chambers County, Texas, is one of the largest U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Recovery Act projects in the country.
The $4.125 million dollar contract to build the center/administration building was awarded to TL Wallace Construction Inc. and will make copious use of green energy and recycled materials. It will be built to LEED-Silver building standards. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the green building program of the U.S. Green Building Council. Buildings are rated at various levels, starting with Certified, then Silver, then Gold and then Platinum, with the higher levels signifying better energy and environmental designs. We anticipate one of the green features will be solar panels and actually they are proposed to be placed on an overhang on the parking area, and one of the innovative features that we have specked out is that the solar panels are actually going to feed outlets at the time that there are rechargeable hybrids, or rechargeable cars, the solar panels will actually feed opportunities to recharge those besides feeding back into the building to support the lighting and electrical needs there. Service officials expect the project to be complete late this year.