On Aug. 17 construction began at the Evanston Ecology Center. The Ecology Center’s solar greenhouse was torn down to allow an expansion of the center’s classroom. The construction is a joint project funded by both the City and the Evanston Environmental Association. The EEA contributed $43,000 to the project, and the City paid the remaining amount of the $192,959 project budget.
“The City of Evanston has looked at replacing it with an extension to the adjacent classroom for quite some time,” said EEA President Rick Nelson. The reconstruction had previously been put off for a variety of reasons. Mr. Nelson said the reasons range from “a large grant that was applied for was not awarded to the City, the project cost more than the City had allocated in past years so there was not enough money to complete the work, or there were objections from community members to the design.”
The paramount reason for the construction was the dilapidated condition of the greenhouse. Mr. Nelson said the greenhouse was “in very poor condition and has been deteriorating further each passing year.” There no current plans to replace the greenhouse. Because of the EEA’s contribution to the project they were allowed by the City to name the classroom extension. So far no name has been chosen.
The new classroom, which is scheduled to be finished in November, will allow for large class sizes and class projects. “There is also an interest in putting some permanent exhibitions in the new larger classroom,” said Mr. Nelson. Karen Hawk, recreation manager of the Ecology Center, said that the center wanted to use the extra space to build “a treehouse for our critters.”