The Research Center
In Detail

The Research Center is a simple, efficient, and versatile facility that provides work space, storage, and housing for visiting researchers. It is available to anyone whose work will add to the understanding, preservation, and protection of this unique ecosystem. The versatile design will allow it to double as a small conference center and also as a classroom for visiting students.

The Research Center has been designed for minimal environmental impact. It is a modest facility, unobtrusive from the outside yet roomy and functional on the inside. The site previously held two portable buildings used as office and research space. These buildings were razed in 1994. Since then, researchers have had to make do with the campground, which lacks lighting and showers, or with seasonal ranger housing, which has limited availability.

The new lab, equipped with large work tables, will provide space for spreading out and drafting maps, charts and other documents. Biologists, geologists, and others will be able to prepare and preserve specimens at the large sink and work counter. The specimens can then be transported to more fully equipped labs for detailed analysis. Ample storage will allow scientists to leave equipment and supplies on-site, eliminating the need to repeatedly transport bulky materials.

The Research Center includes two small bedrooms, sleeping three people each. Additional sleeping accommodations will be provided by fold out beds in the meeting area. In spring, summer, and fall, the deck will provide still more sleeping space. The facility is fully handicapped accessible.

"Park"itecture Echos the Landscape

Richard Minert, owner of Minert Architects and long time caver, generously donated his services to design and oversee construction of the Research Center. As plans for the facility evolved, so did the external appearance, to more closely reflect the local landscape. Long sloping rooflines recall the sinuous ridges of lava which permeate the park. A lava fieldstone fence, yet to be constructed, integrates the building with the local landscape and the Visitor Center. Richard's experience and expertise have delivered a facility which is distinctive, and yet blends well with nearby structures and complements the environment.

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Page last updated 03/17/2005