Due to substantial funding, plans to move ahead of schedule to create the Environmental Education Center at McClellan Ranch were approved by the Cupertino City Council at Tuesday’s meeting.
The center was a project approved as part of the 2013-2014 Capital Improvement program, but to take advantage of a $251,000 state grant has been slated to being Nov. 2.
An original grant expired, but Gale Seeds of the Cupertino Public Works department was able to win approval of the renewed grant allowing for design work to begin.
Additional funding of $1.1 million will come from taxpayer funds, $800,000 from Park Fees collected from the Rose Bowl Mixed Use Project, a project that was approved by the city in 2005, and $349,000 from general fund reserves, said Timm Borden Director of Public Works on the Cupertino Economic Development Committee.
“It’s a great 1.1 million dollar investment,” said Councilmember Gilbert Wong.
The 2,800 square-foot center will be located at the 23-acre McClellan Ranch Park and include two classrooms—one large, one smaller—a small wet lab, exhibits of live animals, plants, and nature, teacher stations, naturalist office, building infrastructure and circulation, and restrooms, according to Borden. It will also include an outdoor gather shelter, he said.
Currently the Environmental Education Center is a part of Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge, in Alviso, where tours and programs about nature are available for both children and adults.
Among the programs available: Third grade creek study program, a K-6 school natural program, high school field studies, summer youth camp, Saturday nature program, college field trips and research program, and San Jose Conservation Corps Training.
Councilmember Barry Chang said local students’ and teachers’ have expressed excitement to him about the center, and feels it will provide a great change from current overcrowded classrooms.