Ten years since the start of U2's record-breaking, acclaimed 360° Tour, one of the largest touring stages ever made is getting a permanent home at one of the largest aquariums in the U.S., changing the skyline of the Salt Lake Valley.
Final installation for EECO (Ecosystem Exploration Craft & Observatory) is set for October 1 on the nine-acre lot south of Loveland Living Planet Aquarium (LLPA) as part of their Science Learning Campus expansion.
The Aquarium is recycling the 200 tons of steel and transforming the stage into a permanent installation, saving building materials, resources, and energy. According to the World Steel Association, each ton of steel produced in 2017 created an average of 1.9 tons of carbon emissions. By reusing this structure instead of building a new one, the Aquarium is preventing 760,000 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere – that's the equivalent of conserving 35,500 gallons of gasoline and associated car emissions.
EECO, formerly known as "The Claw," stands at 165 tall, the height of Niagara Falls. Adapting it to become a permanent installation was a daunting challenge. The Aquarium worked with local and international engineering teams from the U.S., Canada, England and Belgium, who first designed and built the stage, to convert it into a permanent structure.
"The size and scale of EECO and indeed our entire campus is going to be incredible. Our mission is to inspire people to explore, discover, and learn about Earth's diverse ecosystems, and we help guests understand that all of those ecosystems are interconnected as one global ecosystem, the Living Planet," said Brent Andersen, Aquarium Founder and CEO.
Located beneath EECO, the EECO Command Center will provide ecology-themed, interactive experiences for guests with the use of Virtual Reality technology. Explorers will go on eco-missions around the globe, solving challenges. EECO will become the vessel that transports them on their mission, whether it's inside a cell or into outer space. The Command Center is set to open in 2020.
In addition, the Aquarium is building a 90,000 square-foot Science Learning Center that will provide immersive experiences to encourage guests to learn about our natural world. The Center includes a five-story Asian Cloud Forest Habitat and Endangered Species Conservation Center, interactive science stations, new indoor and outdoor animal habitats, and high-tech laboratories and classrooms.
"What we are creating is much more than an Aquarium," said Andersen. "The Science Learning Campus will be a community gathering place, a research center, an entrepreneur space, and it will inspire future generations of scientists."
LLPA educates hundreds of thousands of guests annually about biodiversity and conservation of Earth's ecosystems in the landlocked state of Utah, connecting them to wildlife they may never have a chance to interact with otherwise. The Aquarium is home to more than 4,000 animals from sea to sky representing 650 species living and thriving within six unique habitats.