EBS STAFF

Yellowstone National Park plans to construct a new youth campus at Mammoth Hot Springs to replace and improve the park’s existing education facilities. NPS Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica approved the project on Oct. 4.

The current campus was constructed in 1978. Functionally out of date, the inadequate dormitory, classroom and office space do not meet the needs of today’s students and staff, according to a press release from the National Park Service. The release also notes that the accessibility, energy efficiency and parking are deficient at the existing educational facilities.

The new campus buildings will be designed and constructed to meet the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that requires performance standards demonstrated over 12 consecutive months. For example, 105 percent of the campus’s energy needs must be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis, without the use of on-site combustion.

A portion of the campus will be built on a previously disturbed site. The development will allow for overnight stays for up to 140 students at a time, which is more than double the capacity of the current facility.

“The youth campus will be funded through a combination of philanthropic donations received by our nonprofit partner, Yellowstone Forever, and federal support,” said Yellowstone Superintendent Dan Wenk in a press release.

“The campus we build together will teach sustainability. It will facilitate high quality learning experiences and inspire students to be life-long learners and stewards of Yellowstone long into the National Park Service’s second century.”

The anticipated completion date for the new campus will be 2022, Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary.

Documents associated with this decision, including an environmental assessment and a finding of no significant impact, can be found through the Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) system at parkplanning.nps.gov.