YORK, Maine — The Center for Wildlife cleared a major hurdle recently, when the Planning Board granted final approval for its plans to build a $3.5 million education center and medical facility next door to its current Mountain Road home. If all goes as planned, a groundbreaking could take place this summer
“The Planning Board’s decision is very exciting, and it’s a huge, huge step for us,” said Kristen Lamb, executive director of the center.
The center still has to receive several approvals from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, she said. These include a stormwater permit and a determination about how to best handle one vernal pool within the setback for the road going into the new facility. According to Lamb, project engineers are working with biologists from DEP and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to determine the best solution.
“Obviously, vernal pools are important to all of us here,” she said. DEP officials are coming to the center next week to discuss both matters.
She is hopeful final state permits and loose ends will be wrapped up soon, with a start date of construction in late July or August.
“Our hope is to start building this summer. The demand for services, the space crunch, the commitments of a great team of architects and engineers are all driving the need to get building as soon as possible,” she said. The former ranch house that currently serves as medical center, rehab facility and office space “is really not appropriate for our work at all,” she said.
Fundraising stands at nearly $1.5 million and the capital campaign committee hopes to receive grants and major gifts in the next few months to bring that total to $1.8 million before the groundbreaking, she said. She said she realizes the staff, board and campaign committee have a short amount of time to raise $300,000, “but definitely getting to that $1.8 million is where the staff and board are focused.”
Once groundbreaking takes place, the center will launch the public fundraising campaign. While the total project cost is $3.5 million, a percentage of that is represented by in-kind donation of material and labor. She said, for instance, someone recently donated a $90,000 generator “that we would have had to buy,” she said.
The center will hold tours for the public so residents can understand the cramped and concerning conditions under which the staff currently functions.
The goal is for construction to be complete by the winter of 2019. Those interested in learning more about making a major gift to the campaign can call the center at (207) 361-1400 or email Kristen@thecenterforwildlife.org.
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