Barrier Island Ecosystem Center

Melbourne Beach, Florida


The Barrier Island Ecosystem Center was constructed for Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department to be operated as an educational center for our local school children as well as local visitors and tourists.  The building was completed in the summer of 2007.  It’s unique architectural shape was designed by Architect John Page, in the shape of a wing, in order to help reduce the wind load during hurricane-force winds as the center is located directly on the ocean.

Construction of the building was a challenge, due to several architectural features including the building being erected on top of one hundred auger-cast piles that were driven 100’ deep. The interior flooring in the main exhibit area is acid-stained concrete, and it has an exposed beam circular tongue-and-groove ceiling.  The roof is constructed of standing-seam metal on rigid insulation on 2 x 6 decking.  A theater for assemblies was constructed with a sloped concrete floor.  The parking lot consists of type S-3 asphalt in order to assist with site drainage.  Existing water storage tanks were utilized, and two were added to give the building 100,000-gallons of water for fire-fighting.  Two wells were dug for irrigation and fresh water, a small water plant was installed to supply the facility with potable water, and a septic system was installed for sewage.  The exteriors are made of stainless steel and aluminum, and the A/C condenser was specially coated with a non-corrosive material to combat the highly corrosive environment.

The center’s eco-friendly features include a 6000 square-foot deck made from recycled plastic.  Custom LED, Sea Turtle-friendly lighting was installed in the parking lot.  Native landscaping was installed to keep the ecosystem as natural as possible.