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 Phillip Rollfing  

Natiaonal Park Service project

A&M profs to develop auditorium
for Padre Island National Seashore



The U.S. National Park Service recently awarded $153,000 in first-stage funds to help three Texas A&M professors and their students begin developing a new multi-purpose auditorium for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas.

Collaborating on this multidisciplinary two-year project are Taeg Nishimoto, associate professor of architecture and Yilmaz Karasulu, assistant professor of construction science, both from the College of Architecture, and Ulrike Gretzel, assistant professor with the Laboratory for Intelligent Systems in Tourism at the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences.

The design-build project, which specifies the use of innovative construction techniques, is aimed at engaging students in designing a new facility to be used as a multi-purpose room for park staff, and as a vehicle for expanding the park’s unique visitor and community contact experiences. Involved in each step of the design process, the students, like park managers, will be asked to strike a delicate balance between visitor use and the protection the island’s unique natural resources and cultural heritage.

According to the terms of the agreement, the park service views the auditorium initiative as a model for future building collaborations with the university.

Padre Island National Seashore, encompassing 130,434 acres, is the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world, and offers a wide variety of flora and fauna as well as recreation.



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Padre Island National Sea Shore scenery (National Park Service photo)