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Cincinnati, Ohio — September 10, 2018

Long-term relationship will support the Zoo in its mission to set a new standard

Pepper Construction is pleased to announce the company has been selected to serve as General Contractor for the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s unprecedented master plan, "More Home to Roam.*" Pepper will collaborate with the Zoo to transform the Zoo experience for animals and visitors alike.

Construction of the first project, a new Entry Village, is set to begin next month with completion in 2020. The Entry Village will feature ten new ticket windows and additional queuing space will streamline entry into the Zoo.  Amenities such as more family style restrooms and more storage space for strollers and wheelchairs, as well as a calming room for guests with developmental disabilities, will improve the visitor experience.

The transformational master plan will also bring a shared space where visitors can interact with kangaroos, a new home for little blue penguins with underwater viewing for guests, an adventure ropes course with options for all skill levels and abilities, a parking garage, More Home to Roam for black rhinos and polar bears, a new, nature-based play area and five times more space for elephants!

As part of this ambitious plan, the Zoo is taking their groundbreaking, robust storm water management program to the next level to drive down non-potable water use to zero.  By capturing 100% of the storm water and reusing it in the habitats, the Zoo can divert the water out of the city’s combined sewer system.  The Zoo will also focus on being net zero energy by driving efficiencies throughout the existing systems and pursuing advanced energy options including solar, wind and biomass.  And, with proper organic waste management, the Zoo will strive to become a net zero waste facility. The path to being the first Net Zero Zoo will begin immediately through the construction of the Entry Village and Roo Valley.

To support the Zoo's mission Pepper will contribute progressive counsel and services designed to solve challenges, increase productivity and affect the performance of the built environment at the Zoo. Pepper brings a unique combination of experience in zoo construction and the belief that new methods and technologies create opportunities to deepen relationships while informing decisions. Pepper will fully leverage their suite of services in this long-term relationship, including high performance construction, model-based estimating and virtual and augmented reality technologies, Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Integrated Facilities Management techniques.

Joining the Zoo in their commitment to the community, the project will employ a robust workforce development program designed to provide local employment opportunities and introduce community member to the potential of a career in the trades. Because the built environment is not just about concrete and steel, Pepper will also partner with the Zoo to find new educational opportunities during construction, further integrating visitors into the transformation of the Zoo.

The Zoological Society of Cincinnati was founded in 1873 and officially opened its doors in 1875, making the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden the second oldest Zoo in the United States. Rated by peer zoological parks as one of the best zoos in the nation, the Cincinnati Zoo continues to set the standard for conservation, education and preservation of wild animals and wild spaces. More than 1.8 million people visit the Zoo’s500 animal and 3,000 plant species annually. To learn more about the Zoo and how you can help give animals More Home to Roam, please visit

Now in their fourth generation of family leadership, Pepper Construction Group serves clients across the country with comprehensive teams in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin working in markets such as healthcare, manufacturing and light industrial, hospitality, workplace and education among others. Pepper, one of the Midwest’s largest contractors, leads the industry in virtual technologies as well as lean and high performance construction. Among the firm's current projects are Highland District Hospital’s Building Expansion Project in Hillsboro, OH; the DB Schenker interior build-out in Florence, KY; and Northern Kentucky University’s Kentucky Hall Dormitory Remodel in Highland Heights, KY.


* More Home to Roam is a bold, $150-million capital campaign with the goal to provide better homes for our animals and a better Zoo for visitors.  This capital campaign will enable the Zoo to dramatically enhance animal habitats, improve the visitor experience and remain a multi-generational source of pride for Cincinnati. To learn more about the Zoo and how you can help give animals More Home to Roam, please visit


Contact: Shannan Ghera