Bids open July 5th to provide construction services for an iconic new lion exhibit at Erie Zoo, Pennsylvania.
17 contractors who attended a pre-bid meeting on Monday are expected to compete for 5 separate contracts: general construction, mechanical construction, electrical construction, plumbing construction and shotcrete construction, or rock work.
According to Erie Zoo’s Executive Director, Scott Mitchell, the contracts will be awarded within 24 hours of bid opening and will go to local firms.
The project is expected to cost around $700,000 and will be completed in time to welcome two new female lions. The zoo is already home to 19-year-old lioness, Nala.
Lions are a key part of the zoo’s history, featuring on the zoo’s original logo in 1962.
The renovated exhibit is set to resemble the zoo’s tiger exhibit, designed by Erie architect, Dave Brennan, of Bostwick Design Partnership.
The new exhibit will feature a glass viewing wall. Heaters are being installed at the front of the exhibit to encourage the public to view the animals during the colder months. It is also hoped the extra warmth will tempt the lions to lie up close to the viewing window.
Exposed aggregate, both in front of and within the exhibit itself, is intended to make visitors feel as though they are sharing the same space as the lions, said Mitchell.
Visitors will also get to see animal care staff members working with the lions.
The new lions are due to arrive in September and will not share space with Nala as she is the older animal. The zoo is hoping to acquire a male lion in the near future.
The zoo is currently creating a master plan for the zoo to guide development over the next 20 years and beyond.