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A Lasting Legacy

When Donald "Pat" Patterson died in July 2008 from cancer, he was the president and CEO of SteelMaster Buildings in Virginia Beach, Va. His love of his family and community led him to serve in leadership roles for organizations such as the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Norfolk State University, Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, the Scooner Project and the Neptune Festival.

On the first anniversary of his death, the Virginia Aquarium, located in Virginia Beach,opened a new reptile, amphibian and bird housing building. Because of an increase of animals with the Aquarium's new Restless Planet exhibit, more space was needed for housing. Patterson and SteelMaster donated a S-Model prefabricated corrugated arched-style steel building for the project. A custom model, the building is 29 feet (9 m) wide by 40 feet (12 m)long by approximately 16 feet (5 m) high, and is made up of 80-grade, 22-gauge EnergyStar rated Galvalume Plus coated steel.


The interior is insulated with blanket insulation from Therm-All, Lancaster, Pa., to ensure the interior temperature remains between80 and 85 F (27 to 29 C) for the safety of the animals. The building was constructed using SteelMaster's Industrial Base Connector, a 14-gauge foundation plate that connects to the concrete slab and allows the building to be disassembled and moved if necessary.

"[Patterson] saw a need in the steel building industry for a company that was fully committed to his core values of integrity, ethics and responsibility to customers," said Michelle Wickum, SteelMaster's marketing director. "He recognized those same values in the work being doneat the Virginia Aquarium and he wanted to help them further their mission any way he could."

According to Dorcas Browing, president of the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Patterson's legacy is still very much alive among those working with the foundation and throughout the aquarium. Patterson had held the same position years ago when he was also the foundation's capital campaign chairman.

"The foundation benefited from his discipline,energy and passion for our conservation through education mission," Browning said. "[Patterson's] legacy to the Virginia Aquariumis more than just a building, exhibit or funding. He embodies the spirit of dedication to a A Lasting Legacy By Marcy Marro cause and pride in community treasures like the aquarium. He is an inspiration to us all and we were fortunate to have shared his life."


Reptile, Amphibian and Bird Housing Building at Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center, Virginia Beach, Va.

General contractor: Nelin Brothers Inc., Virginia Beach

Design and engineering firm: MSA P.C., Virginia Beach

Mechanical and electrical engineering: Pace Collaborative, Virginia Beach

Metal building: SteelMaster Buildings, Virginia Beach

Insulation: Therm-All, Lancaster, Pa.