Popular Georgia park gets a new visitor center fit for its mountaintop setting

Search Tripadvisor for Georgia’s Red Top Mountain State Park, and you’ll find reviews like “Most awesome park and activities” and “Peaceful and beautiful.” The park’s new visitor center, completed in November 2019, can only add to guests’ experiences. Styled to look like a classic mountain chalet, it features a standing-seam metal roof classic to such structures, and which also hearkens to the mountain’s history as a rich source of iron ore.

The park’s previous office was destroyed in a fire on Father’s Day 2016, so for several years it lacked some basic amenities – including even restrooms for some time. This posed a challenge for operators of the park, one of the state’s most visited. It draws residents from nearby Atlanta who enjoy easy access to the 1,776-acre facility near Cartersville, Ga., via Interstate 75. Among its attractions are the 12,000-acre Lake Allatoona and more than 15 miles of hiking and biking trails.

The new visitor center replaces all the facilities lost in the 2016 fire, with a little something extra. In addition to offices and restrooms, the pavilion-style structure now includes an added gift shop. Designed by Kennesaw, Ga.-based Croft Architects and Engineers, it’s topped by 9,000 sq. ft. of Snap-Clad 24-gauge steel roof panels in Slate Gray from Petersen’s PAC-CLAD line. Petersen has developed a strong track record with both the design firm and Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources, having been specified by both organizations for other projects over the years.

Snap-Clad panels are known for providing both architectural aesthetics and structural performance. They’re produced in continuous lengths, are leveled to provide superior flatness, and feature an optional factory-applied sealant bead for improved weather resistance. They’re heavily highlighted in the visitor center plan, with its steeply angled lines that create an attractive A-Frame-style profile.

Saco Systems in Suwanee, Ga., provided installation services for the project.