Structural Wood Systems details Noah’s Ark replica at Rotary

Published 8:35 pm Saturday, July 15, 2017

Last year, one local company completed a task of biblical proportions, quite literally, and now it stands as the largest timber frame structure in the country.

Greenville-based general contractor Structural Wood Systems lent its considerable talents—and more than 500 tons of wood—to the creation of a full-size replica of Noah’s ark. The attraction is the centerpiece of Ark Encounter, a Christian theme park that opened last July in Grant County, Ken.

Structural Wood Systems sales manager Rick Taylor and chief estimator Nicole Salter spoke to Rotarians Thursday about the planning and construction of the massive attraction.

“The ark actually spans the length of a football field and a half, so it’s huge,” Salter said during a slideshow presentation of the ark’s construction.

“For the project, we used over 400,000 board feet of lumber. The typical 2,400 square-foot home requires about 16,000 board feet, just to put that in perspective.”

The marvel of modern engineering was built according to biblical dimensions. God’s blueprint called for Noah to construct an ark that was 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high.

A cubit is an ancient, often-debated unit of measurement believed to be roughly equivalent to a forearm’s length.

In US customary measurements, that translates to 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high.

At those specifications, the ark is the largest such replica in the world.

In order to prepare the foundation for the ark, 1.6 million cubic yards of soil had to be moved.

Though the ark’s construction involved a number of organizations, members of the Williamstown Amish community did much of the heavy lifting.

All told, more than 11,000 hours of combined labor was poured into the project. That amounts to roughly 460 full days.

The attraction contains models of animals that were believed to be on the ark. And though there are no live animals on the ark itself, the park has a petting zoo.

A number of other attractions are scattered throughout the park, including a blacksmith and dioramas of Noah’s workshop.

Salter added that there are other planned expansions for the park as well, including a theater and a restaurant.

“It’s growing, and it’s going to continue to grow,” Salter said.

“And we hope that we will continue to have a part in the future with the ark.”

Those interested in learning more about Ark Encounter can visit arkencounter.com/gospel.