IDEA: RESTORE THE KATY PRAIRIE
As more and more of Texas’ natural environment is developed by commercial and residential properties, the 200-acre (0.81 square kilometre) Lone Star CyFair College campus was planned and designed to serve as a model of environmentally responsible development within a sensitive ecosystem, in this case the rapidly vanishing 1,000 square mile (2,600 square kilometre) Katy Prairie. This formerly leveled and grazed site was reclaimed, restoring and expanding the vanishing ecosystem. In collaboration with the Architect, College and community, some 440,000 square feet of facilities, related roads and parking were planned to enable dedication of significant open space for the artful restoration and interpretation of the Katy Prairie ecosystem. A variety of spaces promote student / faculty and community interaction creating an outdoor laboratory to learn about the Katy Prairie ecosystem and build community both on and off campus, a core value of Lone Star College. To mitigate increased run-off from buildings and parking, 18 acres of retention / detention lakes were created, lakes that also harvest irrigation water for the campus and filter pollutants from urban run-off. The restored Katy Prairie has become the environmental signature of Lone Star CyFair College campus and an education-based point of pride for the larger community.
ASLA Texas Chapter Design Excellence Award 2006, ULI Finalist for Award of Excellence 2004, SCUP/AIA Excellence in Planning Award 2004, AIA Houston Urban Design and Planning Award 2004
SWA Group, Scott Slaney, FASLA, Design Principal, Principal-in-Charge; Joe Aker Photography (courtesy of Gensler)
Campus and Landscape Master Planning, Conceptual Design, Schematic Design, Design Development, Construction Documents, Permitting, Cost Estimation, Bidding and Negotiations, Construction Observation
Lone Star College System, Harris County Flood Control District, Harris County Transportation Departments, Adjacent Private Property Owners, Katy Prairie Conservancy
Date Complete: 2003
Area: 200 acre (80 hectares) Campus Master Plan, 140 acre (5.2 hectares) Phase One
Wetland and Prairie Restoration, Habitat Creation, Permeable Surfaces, High Albedo Surfaces, Water Conservation through Native / Naturalized Plantings, Heat Island Mitigation, Storm Water Management, Storm Water Treatment, Water Harvesting and Re-Use, Pollutant Filtration, Walkable, Bikeable, Low to No Maintenance Landscape, On-Site Cut and Fill Balance, Material Recycle and Re-Use.