Yellowstone National Park’s Albright Visitor Center in Mammoth Hot Springs will be renovated over the coming months to be upgraded for seismic activity and bring better accessibility to the building.
The project will involve a seismic retrofit of the existing historic stone building, as well as addressing some accessibility and safety concerns, according to a statement released by the park’s public affairs office. The seismic retrofit requires the installation of a steel frame inside the structure and attaching the frame to the stonework.
Park managers said that Yellowstone National Park often encounters the unique challenge of adaptive use while protecting the historical structures.
The facility was originally built as bachelor officer’s quarters by the United States Army in 1909. Named after Horace Albright, the first Superintendent for Yellowstone and the second Director for the National Park Service, the building had been through a variety of uses before officially becoming the Albright Visitor Center in 1979.
In addition to the structural changes, the exhibits will also be receiving a makeover. While each visitor center throughout the park has a specific focus, this visitor center will feature exhibits on park history and the Northern Range area of Yellowstone, with its diverse and abundant wildlife. A new and dynamic orientation area with interactive displays will offer enhanced trip planning information for visitors.
Rounding out the services that will be available in the renovated facility is a backcountry permit office where hikers can obtain permits and up to date information for backcountry trip planning. The park’s nonprofit cooperating association, the Yellowstone Association, will operate a bookstore in which visitors will find a variety of educational materials about Yellowstone and the surrounding region.
Swank Enterprises, which also completed the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center and the Mammoth Justice Center, plans to complete the project by spring of 2015. The projected opening date for the new visitor center is the summer of 2015. During the project, the visitor center operations will be relocated into a temporary building located nearby. All visitor services, including the Yellowstone Association store, will continue in the temporary location.