|By PR Newswire||
|September 24, 2012 11:59 AM EDT||
BELFAST, Pa., Sept. 24, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) Secretary Richard Allan, along with other state and local officials, broke ground today on a new $4.8 million project to construct a new Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center in Belfast, Northampton County.
"DCNR is proud of its recent major building projects successfully combining energy conservation with environmental education, and this facility will set another benchmark," Allan said. "The new center is designed to provide environmental education services to a growing stream of visitors in an area expected to see a 22 percent population increase by 2030."
Overseen by the Department of General Services and general contractor Lobar Inc. of Dillsburg, the new 9,300-square-foot center will cost nearly $4.8 million in capitol budget funds and offer environmental education space for interpretive programming, offices for center staff, and modern public restrooms for park visitors. Construction is scheduled to be completed by August 2013.
The building will include a green roof planted with vegetation, solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, onsite storm-water infiltration, water conserving plumbing fixtures, regionally purchased materials and high recycled-content materials.
The secretary noted the center also will be a keystone of public outreach and education efforts related to Lehigh Valley Greenways landscape conservation work. One of seven such efforts across the state, the greenways program is designed to encourage and help shape open-space preservation efforts on a regional scale.
"People have been coming to Jacobsburg for years because of our well-maintained trails and the diversity of programs we offer here," said Jacobsburg Manager Robert Neitz. "This new building will enhance our ability to interact and provide services to our visitors."
"This day is a milestone for so many partners in the region who have supported the need for a building at Jacobsburg for many years," said Sherry L. Acevedo, conservation coordinator with the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, Inc. "We look forward to future educational opportunities in the Lehigh Valley Greenways Conservation Landscape Initiative and beyond."
DCNR has invested almost $15 million in grant funds in the Lehigh Valley Greenways project, leveraging an additional $20 million in matching funds to meet its goals.
By 2015, Allan said, Lehigh Valley Greenways planners hope to see trails and greenways connecting natural and cultural resources across the Lehigh Valley, and linking urban areas to outdoor experiences; increased protection of watersheds; and retention of the character of the region's landscapes, heritage and community life.
For more information on Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center and Pennsylvania's other 119 state parks, call 1-888-PA-PARKS or visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us (Select "Find a Park").
Media contact: Terry Brady, 717-772-9101
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources