Visitor Emergency Operations Center

project type

New Construction, Renovation

year completed


Housing staff of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park’s four emergency services, the Visitor Emergency Operations Center (VEOC) has a vital role to play at this notable landmark. To accommodate an incident command center, large reception area, an armory for weapons and much more while fitting seamlessly within the historic Kilauea Administration and Employee Housing Historic District, the facility required MASON’s eye for design to see this vision come to life.

The resulting facility featured a reception area with refuge and stress management facilities for visitors in the event of an emergency, as well as an incident command center, designed to accommodate rescue teams in case of a tsunami, volcanic eruption, earthquake or aircraft crash. Other building features included an armory for weapons and ammunition store; a storage space for secure evidence; holding cells for prisoners; a processing room isolated from the Park’s normal operations; a laundry room where hazardous materials could be removed from clothing; and a back-up generator in the event that the island’s power system stops working. The building also included a permit office, where visitors learned about the “Leave No Trace” philosophy, reviewed safety requirements and obtained backcountry permits.

The appearance of the facility also integrated well into its surroundings, and shared a number of characteristics with the district’s other historic buildings, including hipped or gabled corrugated metal roofs, large wood-framed windows, lava rock foundations and more. A recipient of LEED Platinum certification, the VEOC was also fitted with an air filtration system to filter out sulfur dioxide when the volcano is active.

Original Ranger Station building. The VEOC facility incorporated this structure into the project.

Project Details

  • The project cost of $3,835,000 million included photovoltaic panel installation on two other buildings.
  • The building extension was located where there were few trees.  Any Ohia that was cut down was repurposed and some of it was incorporated into the new building.
  • The project achieved Platinum Certification under LEEDv2009 New Construction Rating System.
  • Building's air filtration system filters out sulfur dioxide when the volcano is active.


Building Industry Association of Hawaii

Renaissance Building and Remodeling Awards 2011


  • Documentation of Existing Conditions
  • Project Programming and Space Planning
  • Building Design
  • Sustainable Design Applications and Consultation
  • Construction Documentation and Administration
Left: Former Ranger Station building in the foreground. Covered parking for Ranger vehicles is beyond and incorporates Ohia logs and local stones; Right: Incident Command Center

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