The Garden of the Gods Park, a designated National Natural Landmark with its incredible natural splendor attracts visitors from around the world. Visitation in the recent years has been estimated at four million visitors annually. With the significant numbers of visitors in the park, it has become increasingly evident that the existing restroom facilities were inadequate and beyond capacity. The City of Colorado Springs retained RTA to guide the restroom facility improvement plan to address the increased demand while enhancing the park visitor experience.
In a fully integrated effort with the sub-consultant team, feedback was collected and analyzed. Numerous meetings were held with maintenance and operations staff, authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs), stakeholders, and the community. Through this critical planning process, increased sustainability, accessibility, and security as well as a design that blended with the surrounding landscape were identified as the primary goals of the project. After presenting several options for each restroom location, the multi-phase improvement plan identified the replacement of the North Main restroom by the fall of 2019. The restroom at the Scotsman Picnic Area will be replaced and new restrooms constructed in the South Garden Parking Lot 10 and the construction of a new facility at the Central Garden Parking Lot 7 in 2021.
The new restrooms at the Garden of the Gods Park will be made of rammed earth – a first in Colorado Springs – which is a specially-hardened concrete soil and made of native cement. The mix will use various local soils to relate to the natural colors of the rock formations in the park. Tucked in to the natural landscape, the year-round insulated facilities will be naturally ventilated and fully ADA accessible, featuring interpretative elements and bottle filling stations as well as drinking fountains. The North Main restroom will also include a rooftop observation deck, allowing visitors an even better view of the iconic Kissing Camels formation.