The unique construction challenges of building a dolphin exhibitEmily Councilor | January 20, 2022
PCL Construction has a big job to do with the breaking ground of the Dolphin Oasis at the Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
The exhibit, designed by Seattle-based MIG Portico, will be a multi-acre habitat for dolphins with over 1 million gallons of saltwater. The design will also feature complex filtering systems as well as hydraulic lifts to transport animals for medical attention. This brings unique challenges to the construction of the pool because of the size, corrosive nature of saltwater and the noise-control of the marine animals.
Dolphins, of course, use echolocation as a means of communication. Because of this, designing a swimming pool or similar large-scale structure for human use doesn't typically take into account the vibrational aspect needed to support a structure like this one long-term. Higher build standards and higher-quality materials are needed to ensure that dolphins using sonar will not degrade the structural integrity of the build.
On top of the noise coming from the animals, the construction noise during building the exhibit around the animals is just as important. "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," Rick Goldman, PCL Construction's vice president and district manager for Orlando, Florida, told Construction Dive. "The animals can't speak to us. So we've got to constantly work with the park operator and monitor that."
This noise-focused project is scheduled to be completed in spring of 2023.