Ribbon-Cutting at Dewey Short Visitor Center

The following is an excerpt from the April 23 Ozarks Water Watch newsletter. It was written by David Casaletto, executive director of Ozarks Water Watch.

The wait is almost over! The US Army Corps of Engineers Little Rock District announced the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Dewey Short Visitor Center in Branson will take place this Friday, April 27.

The center is located at 4600 State Highway 165, next to the Table Rock Lake dam, and the ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m. The realistic appearance of the visitor center makes it look like it is built into the natural bluffs and the landscaping and “green” features are fantastic.

Here’s a look at some of the features that have allowed this Class A facility to qualify for a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD certification:

• Building materials: Materials were chosen considering their environmental impact, with an emphasis on nontoxic, recycled content, locally sourced and manufactured.

• Water-efficient landscape:  Site drainage and water quality is managed through a series of rain gardens and dry streams winding their way through the native landscape.

• Geothermal heating and cooling system: The lake is an existing resource that plays a key role in the building’s HVAC system. The building utilizes a water-to-water heat pump, which incorporates an exchange loop that dumps heat to the lake in the summer and picks up heat from the lake in the winter.

• Day lighting/natural light: Thermal pane insulated glass is used throughout the facility. Fluorescent lighting is installed to supplement natural light.

• Green housekeeping: Environmentally preferable products will be used for cleaning the facility. Power-cleaning equipment meets standard Green Cleaning criteria. Use of recycled paper and plastic products helps conserve natural resources.

At the center, large glass walls provide views of lake and dam, while featured exhibits include a two-story waterfall cascading down the face of a limestone bluff, native flora and fauna displays. Another display, a rowboat filled with circa 1940s home furnishing, depicts family’s attempt to escape rising flood waters prior to the construction of Table Rock Dam.