Thursday, December 6, 2018

Northwest Arkansas nature center construction underway

SPRINGDALE — Construction of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s latest nature center will begin next week. Contracts were signed last week with Branco Enterprises of Neosho, Mo., to begin construction of the center located in Springdale.

The facility will be built on a 61-acre site along Spring Creek, near the intersection of Interstate 49 and Wagon Wheel Road.

Fennell Purifoy Architects of Little Rock is the architectural firm for the 32,000 square-foot facility. It will focus on the unique natural features and ecosystems found in the northwest region of the state. Construction is expected to be complete by summer 2020.

Proposed facility highlights include a state-of-the-art educational facility, indoor and outdoor classrooms, education pavilions, traditional and 3-D archery ranges, watchable wildlife walking trails, wildlife habitat areas, native gardens, and many other conservation education and outdoor recreation amenities. A portion of the property will be restored to native grassland that will provide important wildlife habitat and serve as a model for future restoration efforts.

Studies have shown that similar projects are key economic drivers that increase nearby residential property values, reduce the amount of stormwater to be managed and increase air quality. These projects also improve quality of life and boost local economies by attracting businesses and residents.

The addition of a new nature center will add to the AGFC’s services, habitat work, conservation and enhancements to the natural resources of the area for decades.