Building a Home for Bears05/15/2018
Eby specializes in projects that are outside the norm – often times requiring complex or creative solutions. Manufacturing and healthcare frequently fit in that category due to occupancy and time constraints, but Eby also tackles a “wild” project now and then.
Well, homes for wild animals anyway. Eby has completed many notable projects at the Sedgwick County Zoo in recent years, including the award winning Elephants of the Zambezi River Sanctuary. The interactive exhibit has been recognized by 3 organizations for its outstanding construction.
Currently, Eby is renovating the Grizzly Exhibit at Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend. The project will expand the area around the bear’s occupied home.
“The bears have woken from hibernation and have been out playing while we work,” said Tony Bowman, the Project Superintendent.
The project, at Brit Spaugh Zoo in Great Bend, includes site fencing, sidewalks, a grizzly bear holding building, climbing structure, salmon stream, den, and viewing/training structures. In the Grizzly Exhibit renovation, the team set a 45,000 lb. 15’ x 8’ x 6’ concrete culvert and have begun covering it in large split-stone boulders. This will become the new bear den.
The round, steel fence posts have been set. For enrichment purposes, decorative elements that replicate the natural environment animals live in have been added. Lodge pole pines were used to build custom 4’ tall rough wood fence panels. Crews assembled 105 of these unique panels at the Wichita shop. The fence panels will surround the entire project, including the bear exhibit and bison exhibit.
Inside the fenced area, a large climbing structure will be built. Last week the team completed building the glass viewing area that overlooks a pond and stream in the exhibit.
The project is scheduled to be completed later this month, and the Grand Opening for the exhibit will be held on June 2nd.