As a 30-year client, the Denver Zoo is a perfect example of one of Haselden’s “Clients for Life.” Our first project with them was a remodel of the Zoo’s operations building, and since that time we’ve completed about 20 major projects and over 100 small projects. Our latest project, the new Denver Zoo Animal Hospital, is an incredible project that will bring state-of-the-art veterinary medicine to meet the world-class level of care the Denver Zoo provides.

Haselden’s History with the Denver Zoo

We’ve done a lot of cool projects at the Zoo over the years! The restoration of the Conservation Carousel, the expansion of Primate Panorama, the Kimodo Dragon exhibit, the 4D Theater, the new Harmony Hills bear exhibit … we’ve been lucky to be a part of the evolution of this amazing piece of the culture of our city! In fact, for the last ten years, we’ve had a project in the works there nearly every year, and many times we have multiple jobs happening simultaneously.

Haselden’s largest project with the Zoo was the Front Entry/Predator Ridge project in the early 2000s. At the time of construction, this was a $20 million job. Spanning eight acres, the project included the demolition of various buildings and exhibits, and the construction of a new 15,000 SF lodge-style gift shop, a 16,000 SF guest services building, themed public rest rooms, and outdoor animal exhibits. The animal exhibits simulate the semi-arid east African savanna of Kenya; the naturalistic habitats are now home to some of Kenya’s native animals—lions, spotted hyenas, wild dogs, porcupines, and mongooses. Predator Ridge is an example of what zoos nationwide strive to achieve—larger, more naturalistic and educational exhibits.

Joe Hanlin, a senior project manager at Haselden Construction, has worked on numerous projects at the Zoo. “I truly enjoy working there because it’s so easy to get on board supporting their mission—local education programs plus conservation projects all over the world. If feels good to be part of that.”

Building the New Animal Hospital

The new 22,000 SF hospital is replacing the original hospital that was built in the 1950s and added onto in the 1960s. Before demolishing the old hospital, Haselden constructed a temporary hospital that is servicing the animals during the new construction. This temp structure is just one aspect of the extensive preparation that went into planning for this exceptional facility. An extensive study was performed to determine the best location for the new hospital. Considerations in deciding the location included determining how the animals would get from their habitat to the hospital; where a building of this size would fit logistically (some buildings and trees at the Zoo are on the historic register and cannot be modified, demoed, or removed); and what location would provide viewing opportunities for the public and further animal science education. Haselden team members also visited zoos around the country to draw on the experience and knowledge of other facilities.


What the Animals Have to Look Forward to!

There’s been considerable press on the new Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Animal Hospital at the Denver Zoo, and rightfully so! This hospital is an extraordinary leap forward in animal care. Designed by Stantec, it will house a world-class diagnostic laboratory, indoor and outdoor holding and quarantine spaces, state-of-the-art treatment rooms, and surgery suites, and it will be one of the only animal hospitals in the country with a CT scanner. The design includes much regard for the animals’ comfort, with considerations for noise, views, and daylight. The new facility also has the unique feature of offering Zoo patrons a view inside the hospital facility and a glimpse into the world of veterinary medicine.

The new hospital, which is being built to LEED Gold standards, is slated for completion in early to mid 2020.