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New educational center opens at Jacobsburg State Park

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 20 2013 04:14:13 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 20 2013 04:36:39 PM CST

A new educational center has been in the works at Jacobsburg State Park in Northampton County since 2004.

A new educational center has been in the works at Jacobsburg State Park in Northampton County since 2004.

Officials cut the ribbon Wednesday to mark the completion of the $4.8 million project.

"We will certainly use the park, 1,163 acres as an outdoor classroom," said Ellen Ferretti, acting secretary for the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. "But this center allows you to concentrate education services."

Since 2004, workers for the DCNR wanted to construct a building in Jacobsburg State Park. Dale Prinkey is credited for coming up with the plan almost 10 years ago.

"It's like a dream," said Prinkey. "I left in 2007 and I didn't think a lot about what I had done, but now it brings it all back."

There are classrooms on the first floor and many of the animals people will see in the park.

"We're excited about this," said Ferretti. "We've been doing environmental education programming here for a very, very long time."

The building has solar panels for electricity, geo-thermal technology for heating and cooling, and there are radiant heating floors, but people say the most important part is classes won't have to worry about the elements when learning about Jacobsburg State Park.

"With no indoor facilities, school groups, which are our primary audience that we serve has always been subject to weather conditions," said Rob Neitz, manager of Jacobsburg State Park.

Now, that has all changed. So far, seven events have been held in the building, and state workers said many more are on the schedule.