Smithsonian’s National Zoo Chooses Easi-Set Buildings to House Cheetahs

November 15, 2007 | Easi-Set Buildings

MIDLAND, Va. – When officials at the Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park decided to build a new research facility for their cheetahs, they turned to Smith-Midland Corporation for a customized solution that met the project’s unique needs.

Smith-Midland began installation of nine Easi-Set Transportable Precast Concrete Buildings July 23 at the National Zoo’s 3,200-acre Conservation Research Center (CRC) in Front Royal, Va.  The mission of CRC’s program is the conservation of biodiversity through scientific research, professional training and environmental education.  Scientists there work to achieve three primary goals: saving wildlife, saving habitat and restoring species to the wild.  The facility houses between 30 and 40 endangered species at any given time, which can change from year to year, depending on research needs and recommendations from the Zoo and the conservation community.

National Zoo officials liked that the concrete buildings would withstand the cheetah’s claws, according to Matthew Smith, sales manager of Smith-Midland’s Utility Products Division.  Additionally, the buildings will be able to withstand the cleaning agents that are used to clean the cheetahs’ enclosures.

In a contract worth $150,000, Smith-Midland Corp. provided the CRC with eight 12-foot by 20-foot precast concrete buildings and a single Outback restroom building, which will be hooked up to a water and septic system.  The buildings have a custom clap board finish with a tan stain and a red roof, which allow them to blend in with other buildings at the facility.  Each building was cast and assembled at Smith-Midland’s Midland, Va., plant, transported to CRC and installed in Less than one day.

According to Smith, several other factors made the Easi-Set buildings an attractive solution for National Zoo officials.  They had already developed a hand-laid block building design, but were seeking a Less expensive solution.  Along with the higher cost, the block buildings could not be completed on their schedule, and keeping to the schedule was very important.  Finally, officials liked that the Easi-Set buildings could be readily customized to blend with other nearby structures and did not require a foundation.

In addition to the special clap board finish, Smith-Midland officials customized the design to provide one 3-foot pedestrian door on one side of the building, so keepers can clean the building and feed the animals, and two smaller cheetah doors on the other side, along with two 3’ square windows.

“Easi-Set precast concrete buildings are modular and adaptable,” explained Moffette Tharpe, managing director of Easi-Set Industries. “This is advantageous because they can then be customized efficiently to meet a wide range of applications and requirements.”

Many standard sizes are available, and can range from 10 feet by 12 feet to 40 feet by 200 feet (clear span). Also available are a variety of exterior finishes and roof styles so the buildings can aesthetically blend in with existing structures, specific to the customer’s requirement.

In addition to the advantage of efficient customization, Easi-Set buildings offer cost savings as well.  Not only do the buildings cost significantly Less than comparable built-in-place construction but they can be relocated as requirements change. The rapid installation of an Easi-Set building also saves the customer time, allowing the site to become operational much more quickly.  With an integral floor, no foundations or footings are required, unLess by local code.  A level six-inch layer of sand or crushed stone on an approved sub-grade is all the preparation required.  The buildings are produced by local manufacturers throughout North America.

In addition to the cost and customization advantages, Easi-Set buildings are also unsurpassed in durability.  A special post-tensioned roof and floor design provides superior water-tight construction.  Buildings will not warp, rust, corrode, rot or burn and retain their finish without maintenance.  Heavy-duty construction features galvanized insulated doors, vandal-resistant steel reinforced precast concrete construction, tamper-proof hinges and deadbolt locks.  Buildings are bullet resistant, fire resistant, earthquake resistant and petro-chemical blast resistant with a seismic zone 4 rating. They are able to withstand wind loads of up to 150 mph.  Buildings can be located in remote areas, are durable, secure and do not require attendants.

Easi-Set transportable precast concrete buildings offer a lifetime, maintenance-free solution suitable for almost any application.  The buildings can be used as restrooms, concession stands, press boxes, ticket kiosks, equipment storage, electrical switching stations and transformer housings, pump stations, gas control shelters and valve enclosures, water and wastewater treatment facilities, reduced pressure zone and water meter enclosures, restrooms, hazardous materials
storage, equipment shelters and more.

Smith-Midland Corporation is a publicly traded company (OTC BB:  SMID, SMIWC; Boston Stock Exchange:  SMM, SMM/W). Smith-Midland develops, manufactures and sells a broad array of precast concrete products for use primarily in the construction, transportation and utilities Industries. Smith-Midland has two manufacturing facilities located in Midland, Va. and Reidsville, N.C.  Easi-Set Industries, a wholly owned subsidiary of Smith-Midland Corporation, licenses the production of proprietary precast concrete products around the world.

For more information please call (540) 439-3266 or visit For more information about Easi-Set buildings, visit, or call (800) 547-4045 to speak to a representative who can help you customize a building system to meet your specific needs.