George W. Bush Presidential Center
The George W. Bush Presidential Center (GWBPC) was constructed on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, and opened in April 2013. The grounds at the 23-acre urban park reflect the former president’s and Laura Bush’s commitment to restoration and conservation that defines their Crawford, Texas, ranch. Visitors to the 23-acre urban park that’s restored to a native Texas prairie landscape are treated to wildflower meadows, tree-shaded lawns, tall grass prairies, a savannah, woodland clearings, and a natural habitat for butterflies, birds, and other wildlife. Other landscape features also include paths, lawns, planters, roof gardens, bioswales, and athletic playing fields.
Because ideal soil conditions was critical to this project’s success, Olsson was selected in 2010 to provide technical expertise for designing and installing the new planting soils in the urban landscape. Scientists successfully established native vegetation by effectively balancing water, vegetation, and soil and paid close attention to the soil’s chemistry, physics, and biology. Olsson’s professionals also provided sound understanding of regional soils and vegetation and the climate affecting them to develop the park-like grounds in a timely manner.
What made this project a success was introducing innovative soil restoration and reconditioning strategies that are now being integrated into other new, high-profile rural and urban landscape restoration projects across the country. These strategies are achieving more project goals more quickly for projects’ sustainable landscapes, stormwater management, and ecosystem functions.
In addition, Olsson’s professionals reviewed the landscape architect’s plan sheets, planting palette, geotechnical design elements, and irrigation and drainage plans to ensure the plantings’ success. Olsson also explored, evaluated, and recommended sources for planting soils, compost, and other materials. Olsson staff members then monitored the planting model for the site. Thirteen site visits were conducted during the 20-month construction period to inspect soil placement and quality.