Yellowstone National Park is going modular with its Canyon & Lodge Cabins redevelopment project. Xanterra Parks & Resorts, the National Parks Service’s authorized concessioner in Yellowstone, is replacing approximately 400 cabins with modular structures, and Guerdon Modular Buildings is providing a helping hand with the $70 million endeavor.
The transformation is already underway. Xanterra removed the majority of the hundreds of cabins and two lodging buildings, which had been originally built in the 1950s and 60s, last year. In their place, five lodges, designed by Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, will ultimately sprout up, but most of the sprouting is taking place off site. Relying on modular technology, Guerdon performed the bulk of the building construction at its facility and is hauling them to the Yellowstone site, where all pieces will be put together like a simple puzzle. And from paint to lighting to bathroom fixtures, much of the buildings features will be in place upon arrival.
Modular construction was particularly suitable for the Yellowstone project for one big reason: time. With heavy doses of snow during the long winters, time is of the essence in achieving construction goals in Yellowstone, and modular construction can be most accommodating when it comes to scheduling constraints.
“The reduction of time in the production of buildings that use permanent modular construction is one of, if not the biggest incentive that this method of construction has to offer,” according to a 2015 study prepared by the Integrated Technology in Architecture Center at the University of Utah. “Because modules are built in a factory, the site-work and foundations can be constructed simultaneously. This reduces the lag time that a traditional on-site built building has where site-work, foundations and building construction occur consecutively.” Among the report’s seven case studies reviewed on the topic of scheduling, the construction schedule was reduced by an average of 45 percent.
Yellowstone’s Canyon & Lodge Cabins project, with the assistance of Martel Construction, is well on its way to completion. Guerdon already delivered three of the lodges, which opened to guests in August, and will complete the remaining two buildings for an opening in 2016.