New Roof And Remodeled Lobby Arrive At Mammoth Cave Hotel

The Mammoth Cave National Park hotel has reopened now that a two-year project to replace its leaky roof and renovate the interior have been completed/NPS file

A new roof and remodeled lobby area at the Mammoth Cave National Park hotel in Kentucky were celebrated by officials to mark the end of a six-year effort to fix the original roof on the building constructed in 1965.

The project to revitalize the hotel, known as The Lodge at Mammoth Cave, was funded through the Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund and fixed major structural issues with the park’s main hotel building. The project cost was estimated at $8.6 million.

“This facility improvement project was made possible by the funding we received through the Great American Outdoors Act,” Mammoth Cave Superintendent Barclay Trimble said Friday during the reopening celebration. “The act presents an opportunity for parks such as Mammoth Cave to address large-scale projects that cannot realistically be funded through other means. The hotel project is a perfect example of that need, and the final result is a building we can all be proud of.”

When the hotel was built in 1965 it had a virtually flat roof. The design did not allow water to drain off correctly. During periods of heavy rain, dozens of roof leaks would appear throughout the building and impact visitors using the restaurants, retail shops, and lodging rooms, according to park staff. The exterior windows of the building were also failing, and the configuration of the hotel lobby and hallways were arranged in a way that was often confusing to visitors trying to pass from one side of the building to the other.

In 2018 the park drafted an action plan to fix the roof issues, but it was clear that the repairs were beyond the financial resources of the park concessioner or the park’s traditional funding methods. While park officials researched various funding options, the GAOA was enacted in 2020 and the Mammoth Cave Hotel Roof Project was selected as one of the first projects to be funded.

The construction project included a renovation of the hotel’s lobby area/NPS file

Over the last two years the almost 60-year-old building received a new roof, a reconfiguration and expansion of the interior lobby, installation of new energy efficient windows and insulation, and a complete facade update. The remodeled and redesigned building is now ready to welcome park visitors.

The building has also seen several additional months of remodeling beyond the GAOA project by the park concessioner, ExplorUS. The concession provides food and beverage, retail, lodging, and cave tour transportation services for Mammoth Cave National Park and operates the newly remodeled hotel. They worked closely with park officials to complete a remodel of two hotel restaurants, four accessible lodging rooms, a conference room, and three bathrooms in conjunction with the Hotel Roof Project. ExplorUS also repurposed a retail storage room into a coffee shop for an enhanced visitor experience.

“ExplorUS has been hard at work keeping our visitor services up and running throughout the Hotel Roof Project all while making their own improvements to this building,” said Trimble. “Through our productive partnership and their further investment, they have helped to update and modernize the hotel facility at Mammoth Cave.”
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