Detroit Zoo's penguin center to temporarily close from September to June for repairs

The Detroit's Zoo new penguin center will close for about eight months, starting in September, for repairs, the zoo announced.

The Detroit Zoo’s Polk Penguin Conservation Center will be closed beginning September 9 through mid-June 2020 to make repairs due to faulty waterproofing by the construction contractor. Approximately 9 gallons of groundwater are seeping into the building and being pumped out each day.

“Unfortunately, the contractor failed to properly waterproof the foundation, was aware that groundwater water was seeping into the building throughout construction, didn’t fix the problem and failed to inform us,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “What we initially observed as a leaky basement was more serious. We only learned of the faulty waterproofing through an independent investigation by a team of engineers and through the legal process.”

The Polk Penguin Conservation Center will remain open throughout the summer before work commences September 9. The penguins will live in the former Penguinarium at the Detroit Zoo while their home is being repaired, but that facility will not be open to visitors.

“We know this temporary closure will disappoint our guests, and this wouldn’t have been necessary had the facility been built to the architect’s specifications,” Kagan said. “The safety of the building, animals, staff, volunteers and visitors was never in question – regardless, repairs are needed to properly waterproof the foundation.”

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