Construction has begun on a new dolphin exhibit at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The attraction will be comprised of three interconnected habitats that dolphins will be able to travel between and is an expansion of the park's old exhibit which has been in operation since 1955.
The project requires some special considerations throughout the build process. Higher quality materials are necessary and sound and vibration management must be taken into account.
"The material section [for Dolphin Oasis] is a bit of a higher standard, not only for the animals' safety but [because of] the corrosive nature of saltwater," Rick Goldman, PCL Construction's vice president and district manager for Orlando, Florida told Construction Dive. "Your typical concrete, your typical rebar is not the same as your hotel or condo next door. It's going to be a higher standard, higher specification, higher quality materials."
PCL is focused on limiting noise and vibration during construction, not only for nearby human residents but for the habitat's animal neighbors as well.
"A typical hotel or condominium neighbor can tell you when you're keeping them up at night, or if the noise is too loud or the vibration is annoying them," Goldman said, "whereas the animals can't speak to us. So we've got to constantly work with the park operator and monitor that. We do that daily, starting with a daily huddle, first thing in the morning, and then constant check-ins throughout the day just to make sure everybody's happy, including the animals."
Construction of the two-acre expansion is expected to require 14 months to complete and opening day is anticipated for spring 2023.
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