Washington Park Zoo

KW Garner Consulting, on behalf of the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission
Michigan City, IN

Multiple Condition Assessments

As part of a capital study of the maintenance needs for Washington Park, WJE teamed with KW Garner Consulting to complete condition assessments of the Observation Tower, Rotary Castle, Monkey House, and Barn buildings. The purpose of these assessments was to provide the Michigan City Redevelopment Commission with a summary of the existing conditions and recommended repairs and improvements to the buildings for capital budgeting.


Listed as a historic district on the National Register for Historic Places, Washington Park is home to the Washington Park Zoo and multiple buildings constructed as part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). The buildings on the property include the Observation Tower, Rotary Castle, Monkey House, and Barn. The construction of each building occurred during the 1930s and consists largely of brick and stone masonry construction.


In collaboration with KW Garner Consulting, the WJE project team completed assessments of the buildings within a one-day site visit. WJE’s evaluation consisted of visual observations from grade, roofs, and some challenging attic spaces within the buildings.

Findings from previous evaluations that WJE performed and construction documents from previous repair campaigns designed by others were reviewed to understand the relative rate of deterioration and determine what repairs may not be performing well. From the document review, WJE was able to determine that mortar materials specified for repairs by others were not advisable and corroborated observations of deteriorated conditions.

WJE’s findings were summarized in an organized report with budgetary cost estimates, which were developed based on WJE’s previous experience with similar repairs and advice from WJE’s network of specialty repair contractors.