Camp Cowabunga Wins Third Award

When staff from Mohan Construction and the Topeka Zoo traveled to Wichita earlier this year to receive a construction award, they knew in advance that they would be receiving two awards. The third one was a complete surprise.

The awards were presented by the Associated General Contractors of Kansas at the Kan-Struct convention on February 1, 2019, in Wichita. The first two awards included the AGC of Kansas Award of Excellence for new construction between $2 and $6 million and the Kan-Struct Collaboration Award of Excellence for Public Buildings.

“The Topeka Zoo and Conservation Center is proud of all the work that was done by Mohan Construction for the Camp Cowabunga project,” said Zoo Director Brendan Wiley. “Camp Cowabunga has been a tremendous asset to the zoo. It has been wonderful to see guests have a safari experience in the heart of Topeka.

The awards ceremony concluded with the presentation of the AGC of Kansas Judges Choice awards. The Judges Choice awards are selected from all construction and budget categories combined. Camp Cowabunga won the AGC of Kansas Judges Choice Runner Up award with only one project throughout the entire state that had a budget of $75.4 million winning a higher award.
“We are honored that Camp Cowabunga won three awards,” said Steve Mohan, President of Mohan Construction. “There were many excellent projects submitted from across the state, so we are proud to be recognized by the construction industry with these awards. It was extra special to be selected for the overall Judges Choice Runner Up Award. When we accepted that award, I wanted to recognize who wasn’t in attendance. Gary Clarke was the inspiration for this project. He told me he was looking forward to being at the award presentation with us, but unfortunately, he passed away recently and is no longer with us. I wanted to dedicate this award to him.”

“I’m glad I had the opportunity to work with Gary Clarke. His passion and sense of humor made it a great experience. The Zoo staff were fantastic. Their dedication and commitment to Camp Cowabunga and the Topeka Zoo helped make this project a success,” said Steve Mohan.

“These awards are the result of the teamwork and cooperation of the City of Topeka, The Topeka Zoo, GLMV Architecture, Studio Tectonic and the many subcontractors and suppliers on this project. This is a great addition for the Topeka Zoo and the City of Topeka, and Mohan Construction is proud to be part of it,” said Steve Mohan.

Camp Cowabunga broke ground on July 6th, 2017 and was completed and opened to the public on August, 31st 2018. Camp Cowabunga was the largest project in the Topeka Zoo’s history and creates the atmosphere of being on a safari in Africa, with the exhibit honoring Gary K. Clarke’s safari experiences in Africa as a tour guide. Camp Cowabunga houses several animals including African lions, African painted dogs, Red Patas monkeys, guinea fowl and ostriches. Camp Cowabunga also features interactive learning experiences that are fun and education for guests. Opening weekend of Camp Cowabunga saw 9,857 guests who enjoyed their first experience of the Topeka Zoo’s master plan.

For additional information, contact Brendan Wiley at or 785-506-3797.