Thursday, January 21, 2010

N.C. to get new Smokies visitor center

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has awarded a contract to build a new visitor center at the park's main North Carolina entry, according to the AP.

Officials announced Tuesday they have selected Joseph Construction of Knoxville to put up the new 7,000-square-foot center at Oconaluftee, just inside the park near Cherokee, N.C.
The Great Smoky Mountains Association is providing $2.5 million to build the center, and the Friends of the Smokies is adding $500,000 for exhibit design and fabrication. The gifts together will fund 100 percent of construction costs.

The center will be environmentally friendly with such features as geothermal wells and a cistern to catch rainwater to use for flushing toilets.

Construction will begin in February and is expected to take about a year.

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