Construction crews were able to work through the winter to raise the walls and roof of the Naperville Park District’s first nature center at Knoch Knolls Park, setting the stage for further progress on the interior of the building this spring.
“We now have the heating and cooling system installed, as well as plumbing, insulation, and the sprinkler system,” said Project Manager Peggy Pelkonen. “The construction crew is working on installing drywall and siding, with windows to be added soon.”
As part of the Nature Center development, the Naperville Park District plans additional site improvements at Knoch Knolls, including a pervious paver parking lot, an expanded disc golf course, a nature-themed playground, and multi-use trails. These developments will begin in April, weather permitting.
As construction progresses this spring, the Park District will close the parking lot and disc golf course at Knoch Knolls Park, however the DuPage River Trail will continue to be accessible from Knoch Knolls Road and from nearby parks. Patrons may park along Knoch Knolls Road, at Weigand Riverfront Park or at DuPage River Sports Complex.
Construction of the Knoch Knolls Nature Center began in summer 2013 and is on schedule to be complete by late summer 2014, opening in the fall of 2014. The building will house two classrooms for nature programs, a central exhibit area, staff offices, public restrooms, and a large deck overlooking the pond.
The Nature Center will focus on the theme of “Celebrating Water,” encouraging exploration of the DuPage River, which winds through Knoch Knolls Park. Features of the center will include a river aquarium wrapped around a cistern, interactive videos and wall exhibits, a sculpture reminiscent of the former 19th century sawmill on the site and decorative flooring portraying a river bed.