ROCK PORT, MO. - When visitors are welcomed to the Rock Port Welcome Center in Northwest Missouri, they will find themselves in the only LEED certified welcome center in the state. This prestigious certification recently was awarded to the Missouri Department of Transportation for the welcome center's "green" design, construction, operation, and maintenance.
"We are extremely proud to have one of our facilities receive this environmental certification," said Don Wichern, MoDOT Northwest District Engineer. "This really shows that not only do we work to keep travelers safe on our roads, and make the best use of all tax dollars, but we try to be as environmentally responsible when we can."
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized certification offered through the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED buildings are designed to lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer for occupants, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEED certification is based on points earned from the LEED scorecard. The Rock Port center rated 56 points, achieving silver certification status.
The theme of the Rock Port Welcome Center is "Energy Conservation and Alternative Energy: Past & Present." MoDOT used the center's theme and the LEED certification elements to design the new facility with the following features:
- Construction on existing site with minimal tree removal
- Ground source heat pump
- Energy-efficient lighting with occupancy sensors
- Hot water circulator
- Low-volume toilet fixtures with flush sensors
- Temperature-controlled vending machines
- Sand-filtered waste water treatment
- Native grass and landscaping requiring less water use
- Energy conservation educational panels around the building
Construction on the new welcome center occurred from August 2011 through June 2012 at a cost of $5.1 million, with 80 percent of the cost coming from federal enhancement funds and a 20 percent match from MoDOT. The former welcome center was outdated and needed major investments and maintenance to remain serviceable to the public.
"The LEED certification shows the department's commitment to sustainable energy sources and our efforts to make the most of our existing resources. This building will function for many years, serving travelers from all over the country," Wichern said.
The Rock Port Welcome Center is located on southbound Interstate 29, two miles south of Route 136, at mile marker 108. The center is ADA accessible and includes picnic areas, a children's play area, a designated pet area, parking for 52 cars and 58 trucks.