Westwood Hills plans for future construction

The+entrance+of+the+Westwood+Hills+Nature+center.+A+new+interpretive+center+costing+around+%2412+million+has+been+proposed+to+open+in+2019+or+2020.
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Westwood Hills plans for future construction

The entrance of the Westwood Hills Nature center. A new interpretive center costing around $12 million has been proposed to open in 2019 or 2020.

The entrance of the Westwood Hills Nature center. A new interpretive center costing around $12 million has been proposed to open in 2019 or 2020.

Sophie Olmen

The entrance of the Westwood Hills Nature center. A new interpretive center costing around $12 million has been proposed to open in 2019 or 2020.

Sophie Olmen

Sophie Olmen

The entrance of the Westwood Hills Nature center. A new interpretive center costing around $12 million has been proposed to open in 2019 or 2020.

Sophie Olmen and Hayley Westwood

According to recreational superintendent Jason West, the $12 million renovation to the Westwood Hills Nature Center will create an Interpretive Center intended to be more interactive for visitors.

“It will be very different and very hands-on,” West said. “We will have new exhibits. We have teamed up with a group called Split Rock Studios and they are doing our exhibits.”

Junior Westwood Hills Nature Center volunteer Hope Cassman said the new building will be helpful to the community.

“I’m excited for the new building because it will make it a lot easier for people to visit,” Cassman said. “Hopefully it will help people be able to learn more about the environment in St. Louis Park.”

Sophomore Amelia Ryan said she thinks the cost of the new Interpretive Center is unnecessary.

“I think it’s a waste of money because, with it being $12 million, they shouldn’t need to renovate the building, because it is already pretty good,” Ryan said. “They should spend the money on nature and helping the earth.”

West said they plan to make the new building eco-friendly and a teaching tool to the community.

“Our goal is to have zero-energy building. We will have solar panels on the roof, reclaim water that runs off the building to be reused in different ways and geothermal flooring,” West said.

Cassman said the new Interpretive Center will bring attention to the environment.

“It will bring the community together because more people will want to go there and see the new building,” Cassman said. “It will bring more awareness to the environment, because it is important to learn how to be eco-friendly, especially because of global warming.”

West said the idea has been in the works since 2015-2016, and the master plan was finalized in 2016.

“Construction will start to take plan in 2019, and (the) completion date will be spring 2020,” West said.

According to West, more information regarding the new Interpretive Center can be found at St. Louis Park’s website.

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