Case Study: Ditch Water Discovery Center

November 14, 2023

Jessica Byrd, Prime Metal Buildings

Summary- In 2021 Prime Metal Buildings partnered with Waldrop Construction on the Ditch Water Discovery Center project, an educational learning facility for the Middle Trinity Groundwater Conservation District (MTGCD). MTGCD’s goal for the center is to not only provide a space for community members to learn about conservation and sustainability but, to additionally display live examples of how you can contribute more sustainable concepts to your environment. 

Challenge- The challenge was to provide a one-of-a-kind architectural building that met or surpassed the sustainability requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.  LEED certification is a rating system based on energy efficiency, material sustainability, and environmental sustainability among other specifications. 

“This project had a lot of moving parts and strict requirements that you do not see in your typical metal building project.  This did prove to have its fair share of challenges that we work through in the design process, but in the end, we were able to provide a unique building project for the Stephenville Area,” said Randy Kunkel, Prime Pre-Engineered Metal Building Salesman.

Collaboration- Communication is the foundation of any relationship, so that’s where we began. We met with, listened to, and learned from the project’s General Contractor, Waldrop Construction, as well as the subcontractor who would be erecting the steel building multiple times before the project began to ensure everyone’s success. Together, we developed a strategy and design that would provide exactly what was needed for this project’s strict environmental requirements while also including custom sliding doors, Corten-rust finished panels, and both perforated and solid box rib panels to give the customer the architectural uniqueness the customer envisioned. 

Each phase required meticulous planning to ensure everything remained within the required guidelines. Kunkel explained, “On Prime’s side, it took a lot of communication between sales, purchasing, and project managers to make sure we were allocating all the material specifically for this project.  The project required special panels solid and perforated in a custom finish as well all primary steel from the project had to be allocated from specific vendors with a certain amount of recycled material used in the raw steel to meet LEEDS program requirements for the project.” 

Custom Solution- 

The Ditch Water Discovery Center is a one-of-a-kind design, which will benefit its community for decades to come. Middle Trinity Public Relations, Education, and Project Manager Stephanie Keith elaborates on the Ditch Water Discovery Center by stating, “The building is a bolt-together structure with minimal welded features. The education space was designed as an integral part of the landscape and will be used for a variety of programming.  The sliding barn doors along both sides of the space allow for natural ventilation and connection to the outdoors. The breezeway and porches were clad in recycled Thurber brick salvaged from the streets of Stephenville.  The porch was constructed with a verdant trellis and vegetated with Tangerine Beauty Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata).  Patrons of the site can relax on the porch as they enjoy the view of the restored riparian area along the ditch. The overall goal of the learning center is to educate the public about the importance of groundwater and provide living examples of conservation through sustainable concepts.”

Prime Metal Buildings has extensive commercial building experience including but not limited to offices, retail spaces, crane buildings and so much more. When you combine this knowledge with Prime’s interactive design approach, which allows you to be involved in every step of the project, your result is a design that exceeds your expectations both structurally, and visually. Mission accomplished.