Sol Harris Day Architecture

This recreational project began as a vision to expand the capabilities of the Stark Parks wildlife rehabilitation program, which cares for an average of 2,000 wounded animals annually, and to intertwine space to host and support educational programs. Previously, Stark Parks had been operating out of a 2,000 square foot pole building on the Sippo Lake site since 1981 with little or no accommodations for park staff and volunteers. Additional space was needed to improve care for the injured animals, expand opportunities to collaborate and conduct research with professionals and academics, and to host educational exhibits and park programs.


  • Master Planning
  • Visualizations and Graphics
  • Sustainable Design
  • Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • FF&E
  • Estimating/Scheduling

Visitors have been in awe of the change and appreciative of the environmentally sustainable practices that were used in the building’s construction, which is so important to the mission we serve.

Sarah Buell, Projects and Administration Manager, Stark Parks

Sustainable Features

The new 9,405 square foot recreational building, clad in cedar siding and stone, was envisioned to compliment the beautiful forested park site and to have minimal environmental impact. Great care was taken to  reduce energy and water usage and to utilize high quality local materials with reduced maintenance requirements. The wall and roof assemblies were designed to achieve high insulation levels. Cisterns collect rainwater that is used for the care of the animals and for cleaning wildlife enclosures. Abundant windows offer light, views and a connection with nature for both staff and the animal patients. The glass in the windows includes a ceramic frit to deter birds and bats from flying into the park building. Skylights offer natural light to reduce energy loads and support the animal’s circadian rhythm. Exposed colored concrete floors can be found throughout the majority of the recreational building, reducing the amount of flooring materials needed. The concrete also features paw prints of local wildlife species. 

Building Organization

There are many unique aspects that were incorporated into the Wildlife Center to enhance the space for the rehabilitation animals. Three shades of paint were used in the recovery rooms to emulate the land, horizon line, and sky. Custom tubs were built for recovering waterfowl to provide constant water movement to keep oils from building up on their feathers. Custom sinks were built for recovering waterfowl and turtles that can be used for cleaning the animals or a grate can be placed over top to turn it into a cage. 

There is also 6,097 square feet of outdoor caging on the park site to house injured and educational animals that was designed to exceed wildlife rehabilitation standards and expand the capabilities of the program.  


  • New Wildlife Conservation Center serves two purposes: education and conservation (primary focus)
  • Provides public access in the Animal Education Center to learn about Stark Parks natural wildlife and environment
  • Offers rehabilitation and release of wildlife, providing medical treatment and healing
  • Provides the ability to monitor the general health and wellness of the wildlife
  • Conservation spaces include an exam room, prep area, ICU, mammal recovery, quarantine area, waterfowl/songbird recovery, raptor recovery and several outdoor pens (including flight cages) for pre-release of animals
  • Administrative offices for staff included

This project was very unique and Melinda (SHD) took care to listen to what we needed to streamline our wildlife care operation, provide for educational opportunities for the community and to incorporate our Natural Resources department into this new space.

Sarah Buell, Projects and Administration Manager, Stark Parks

Meet the Team

  • Melinda Scalfaro
  • Abigail Maurer
  • Jeff Hardy


  • Ohio Parks & Recreation Association (OPRA) Award of Excellence

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