by Mark Barnes
Once the rusty patina settles on to the corrugated steel siding of the new museum, classroom and dormitory at Celebration Park south of Melba it will blend in to the surrounding environment. During a recent tour to showcase the new construction, design features were pointed out to media and guests that take advantage of the climate and location’s unique features.
As Idaho’s only archeological park, Celebration Park hosts thousands of Idaho schoolchildren during field trips to the site that features petroglyphs and archeological sites native Americans have been using for over 10,000 years.
Tom Bicak, director of the Canyon County Parks, Recreation and Waterways had the dream of a museum and permanent classrooms since he first wrote the conditional use permit for the site in 1989.
“The big dream to make Celebration Park what it is has come a long way,” said Bicak.
The new buildings will host a museum, an archeological research classroom and a dormitory that will house up to 16 college students at a time.
The museum will host three to four exhibits per year, “So you won’t have that same 2-headed calf every time you come down,” said Bicak.
The buildings take advantage of high ceilings with upper windows to vent heat in summer. The angle of the roof and shade structures outside will allow the sun to enter the building for heat in winter. Radiant floor heat has been incorporated throughout the buildings. Men’s and women’s outdoor solar showers, a tradition for over 20 years among the archeological students researching at the park, have been incorporated into the design as well. The fire-safe steel siding and breezeways integrate with the hardscape plan to create plenty of shade in summer in addition to outdoor learning spaces with an incredible view across the Snake River towards the Owyhee Mountains.
Future plans include adding more dormitories to accommodate more students from other university programs. The Spring 2014, reservations are already full with summer and fall quickly filling up to reserve the space by
Construction is expected to be completed by October.