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OKC ZOO BREAKS GROUND ON MASTER PLAN EXPANSION

Zoo’s 6.6 Acre Expansion, Sanctuary Asia, to be Safe Haven for Endangered Asian Animals

 

The Oklahoma City Zoo broke ground on its latest expansion project, Sanctuary Asia, Thursday, February 16, 2017. The $22 million project was outlined as Phase II in the Zoo’s master plan in 2010. Sanctuary Asia will create a vast, multipurpose environment where endangered animals from the Asian continent can thrive while receiving world-class zoological animal care. Torre Design Consortium, LTD, from New Orleans, Louisiana, will serve as architect for the project and Timberlake Construction from Oklahoma City was chosen as the construction team.

Mayor Mick Cornett attended the ceremony and spoke to the crowd of 40 guests. The groundbreaking was also attended by Cindy Batt, Zoo Trust chairperson; Dave Timberlake, Timberlake Construction chairman; Ace Torre, Torre Design Consortium; Dr. Dwight Lawson, Zoo executive director/CEO; Oklahoma City Zoo Trust Members; Zoo staff; Oklahoma Zoological Society staff members; Tiffany Batdorf, Adventure District manager; Timberlake Construction staff members; and Torre Design Consortium representatives.

Located in the southwest section of the Zoo connecting to the existing elephant habitat, Sanctuary Asia will add 3.5 acres to the elephant herd’s existing 4.5-acre habitat. Sanctuary Asia will also be home to red pandas, Asian rhinos, langurs, Komodo dragons, raccoon dogs, cranes and cassowary birds. Funding for the 6.6-acre expansion was secured through the Zoo’s 1/8-of-a-cent sales tax accrual, approved by Oklahoma City citizens in 1990. The project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2018.

“Animals within Sanctuary Asia, like all those within the Zoo, will be safe and free to socialize, eat, play and explore,” said Dr. Dwight Lawson, Zoo executive director/CEO. “Our guests will be able to see existing and new animals from a new perspective. It will be visually stunning and our goal is to inform guest about the urgent plight of these Asian animals in the wild and be moved to take immediate action to protect them.”

Sanctuary Asia will also include a two-story building with vast windows seamlessly uniting animal habitats to create a highly visual and memorable experience. The views will include the elephant, rhino and Komodo dragon habitats. In addition to providing daily food service, the facility is designed for after-hours special events. A water zone will give children a splash area to experience in the summer. The landscape design will include plantings native to Oklahoma, but will resemble lush Asian themes.

Thank you Oklahoma City citizens! The Oklahoma City Zoo, located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, is a proud Adventure Road partner and a member of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. The Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums. Hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Buildings close at 4:45 p.m. daily. Regular admission is $8 for adults, and $5 for children 3 – 11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Are you a Zoo fan? Find us at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. To learn more about these and other happenings, call (405) 424-3344 or visit www.okczoo.org.

 

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Editor’s Note:  Please visit this Dropbox link to view images and video:

  1. Video – raw footage of Mayor Mick Cornett speaking, Dwight Lawson, Executive Director and CEO of the OKC Zoo speaking and images of digging dirt with gold and red lacquered shovels.

  2. Photo - From Left to Right:  Dave Timberlake / CEO Timberlake Construction, Ace Torre / Tore Design Consortium, Dwight Lawson/ Executive Director and CEO of Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Mayor Mick Cornett / Mayor of Oklahoma City, Cindy Batt / Oklahoma City Trust Chairperson

  3. Photo - From Left to Right:  Dave Timberlake / CEO Timberlake Construction, Ace Torre / Tore Design Consortium, Dwight Lawson/ Executive Director and CEO of Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, Mayor Mick Cornett / Mayor of Oklahoma City, Cindy Batt / Oklahoma City Trust Chairperson

  4. Photo - From Left to Right:  , Dwight Lawson/ Executive Director and CEO of Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden and Mayor Mick Cornett / Mayor of Oklahoma City

  5. Image - Sanctuary Asia – Exterior    

  6. Image - Sanctuary Asia – Interior  

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