Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area Visitor Center Receives Silver LEED Certification From U.S. Green Building Council

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Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area Visitor Center
Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area Visitor Center
LEED Silver Award
LEED Silver Award
For Immediate Release

Visitor/Educational Center Honored for Environmentally Sustainable Initiatives During Design and Construction

(ROGERS, Ark.)--The visitor center at Hobbs State Parks-Conservation Area has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGB) honoring the environmentally sustainable initiatives taken during its design and construction. The LEED Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. This consensus-based national rating system recognizes high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. There are four levels of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.

Completely voluntary, the LEED program follows the entire building process, from the basic design concept to the actual construction. LEED-certified buildings are awarded with certification based on the number of sustainable points that the building has accumulated: Certified (26-32 points), Silver (33-38 points), Gold (39-51 points), and Platinum (52-69 points).

The architect was PB2 Architecture and Engineering of Rogers. The contractor was Milestone Construction Company, LLC of Springdale. According to Stan Graves, manager of Planning and Development for Arkansas State Parks, “Local materials from the region were used to save fuel and transportation, and boost the local economy.” He said, “Rainwater from the building’s roof is used for irrigation. A geothermal heating and cooling system reduces energy consumption. And, reflective colors on the building reduce heat gain.” Graves noted that fly ash, a recycled material, was used in the concrete slab which reduced the cost and replaced a portion of virgin materials that would otherwise have been used in the concrete mix. “Forty geothermal wells are below the parking lot,” he continued, “to duplicate space uses and thus reduce disturbance to the forested landscape, as well as protect the well heads. A single entrance/exit road for the visitor center also makes less impact on the surrounding forest.” Graves emphasized, “LEED is today’s most comprehensive green building certification program. It provides guidelines for designing green buildings. And, when construction is completed, the result is a healthier building. In addition, because LEED buildings are energy-efficient, they cost less to maintain over time.”

Mark Clippinger, park superintendent for Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, said, “We take great pride in our park’s LEED-certified visitor center. This state park-conservation area is a 12,056-green space in northwest. Our visitor center is the perfect portal to the natural world around us. As a LEED-certified green building, it serves an integral role in our mission to provide enriching educational and recreational experiences in harmony with resource stewardship here at Hobbs." The Arkansas state park system’s largest state park, 12,056-acre Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area east of Rogers, lies between Beaver Lake to the north and War Eagle Creek to the south. The park stretches across a part of Benton County southeast of Beaver Lake and extends into Madison and Carroll counties. Amendment 75, Arkansas’s conservation amendment, funded the $4.5 million, 17,531-square-foot visitor center. The center is near the junction of Ark. Hwy. 12 and War Eagle Road.

Featuring state-of-the-art exhibits designed and fabricated by Chase Studios of Cedar Creek, Missouri and classroom/meeting space, the building also houses a retail sales area and the park’s administrative offices. The center serves a key role in welcoming visitors and students to this state park-conservation area, a diverse tract of Ozark landscape consisting of plateaus, ridges, valleys, and streams featuring an upland forest of oak-hickory/shortleaf pine. Many water features include disappearing streams, springs and seeps that have carved hollows in the park’s limestone environment, as well as cave-related features including numerous sinkholes.

Studies determined the best location for the building’s site to minimize its impact on the park’s delicate geological foundation, a limestone environment of small caves and springs. And, the construction areas of the building site were kept to a minimum to also protect its surrounding natural environment. The contemporary design of the building is reminiscent of an Ozark barn. It includes a porch at each entry and a stream flowing around the building. Information and education are the primary focus of the facility. The visitor center introduces park visitors and students to this natural resource and its historical attributes, and serves as the hub as they are motivated to go outside to experience it, enjoy it and learn from it as their lives become connected to it. Within an hour’s drive are over 58,000 students in Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties who can benefit from it.

Mark Clippinger emphasized, “Our park visitor center is also very much enhancing the quality of life in this area and inspiring all who visit it. And, it’s about motivating the young people who spend time here and helping prepare the next generation to be environmentally-conscious stewards of the land.”

The majority of the Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area’s 12,056 acres is comprised of the 11,644-acre Roscoe C. Hobbs estate that was acquired by the state of Arkansas in the late 1970s. Hobbs had used the property primarily in his forest product business. Under Hobbs’ management, the area was maintained in timber and selectively harvested for timber products including railroad ties.

The park also includes a wide variety of hiking trails; an all-weather, public firing range; regulated seasonal hunting; and undeveloped access to 28,370-acre Beaver Lake. Future development will include cabins, camping and day-use areas. Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area is one of Arkansas’s 52 state parks. It is managed jointly by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission and Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. The park is 10 miles east of Rogers on Ark. 12.

For further information, contact: Stan Graves, manager of Planning and Development, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, phone: 501-682-1633, stan.graves@arkansas.gov; or Mark Clippinger, park superintendent, Hobbs State Park-Conservation Area, 20201 East Highway 12, Rogers, AR 72756, phone: 479-789-5000.

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