CEDAR RAPIDS – The Indian Creek Nature Center released images today that show what the center’s new building will look like.
Executive Director John Myers noted that the new “Amazing Space” campus will be Iowa’s only sustainable, netzero energy project and the only Nature Center worldwide to pursue the Living Building Challenge certification.
The new facility will house educational, land protection, and administrative functions of Indian Creek Nature Center. Educational spaces that incorporate STEM and nature-based learning opportunities include: a bird viewing room with microphone to hear the birds and other wildlife; a 150-person auditorium and attached kitchen; (2) 500 sq ft classrooms with smart board and web-connected technologies; an exhibit hall; and, a gift shop focusing on local and sustainable products.
Here is more from the Nature Center about the new facility:
Executive Director John Myers states “Sustainability is an important part of our mission and this project should challenge other businesses and organizations to realize that adapting these technologies can be both cost effective and environmentally friendly.” The Living Building Challenge looks beyond the typical LEED certification to focus on true sustainability and no negative environmental impact during construction or operation.
Over 350 photovoltaic (solar) panels sited on the Center’s roof will power the building providing over 100% of the energy demands. Geothermal and radiant floor heating and cooling systems, all LED lighting, natural daylight, solar-thermal water heating, and rainwater reclamation are a few of the other technologies being used in this project.
The project also includes outdoor educational elements, including a certified Nature Explore classroom, outdoor amphitheater, land protection classroom and workshop, a butterfly hoop house, and covered learning shelters. The historic Maple Sugar house located near the current Nature Center will also be moved to the new campus.
With fundraising in progress, groundbreaking is expected within the next two years, though certain elements of the campus will be developed beginning this year.
Located in Cedar Rapids, the Indian Creek Nature Center is Iowa’s first and only privately owned and operated non-profit nature center. With 290 acres of land under its management, the Center hosts a myriad of visitors each year for nature-based activities. The mission of the Indian Creek Nature Center is to promote a sustainable future by nurturing individuals through environmental education, providing leadership in land protection and restoration, and encouraging responsible interaction with nature. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors which sets policy.