By Joel Scanlon
Richard Allan, Secretary of DCNR (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources) together with local officials and officials of the state, has commenced the development of a $4.8 million project for constructing a new education center, in Belfast, Northampton County.
This center is named the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center and will be spread across 9,300 sq. ft.
DCNR has made an investment of nearly $15 million as grant funds in this Lehigh Valley Greenways project, leveraging an additional $20 million to meet its objectives. The center will be a basis of public outreach as well as efforts related education in the Lehigh Valley Greenways landscaping conservation work. This initiative is an effort under the greenways program designed to steer people towards shaping open-space preservation.
The 9,300-square-foot new center for environmental education will be managed by the Department of General Services in liaison with Lobar of Dillsburg, the general contractor for the project. The cost of the project is estimated at $4.8 million in capital budget funds. The development will provide environmental education place for park interpretive programmes, modern public restrooms and center staff offices.
The structure will feature green roof of vegetation, geothermal cooling and heating, water-conserve plumbing fixtures, solar panels, onsite storm-water infiltration, recycled-content materials and regionally purchased materials. Construction is slated for completion in August 2013.
According to Allan, the new center will offer ecological education services to the growing flow of visitors in a region that is likely to see an increase of 22% of population growth by 2030.