Discovery Center to begin construction
Construction will begin this month on the new Canyon Country Discovery Center campus of Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, on 48 acres of ground just north of Monticello.
Bids for the project were opened on September 25 and Hogan Construction was the low bidder. It is expected that the construction will take approximately one year to complete and that construction will begin before the cold weather hits.
The campus is designed to promote economic development in San Juan County by using local business services and attractions for its conferences and programs whenever possible.
The Discovery Center will feature a 22,000 square foot facility on 48 acres, including an exhibit hall with hands-on interactive learning stations, a night sky observatory, Discovery Theatre, administrative offices, a classroom and lab, and five miles of walking/ski trails, playgrounds, picnic areas, and more.
Visitor areas feature hands-on learning stations that will provide insight into the Canyon Country of the Colorado Plateau. Areas of emphasis include natural history, human history, land use and energy, water resources, and astronomy and weather.
The Discovery Center will also serve as a community resource with a library and field laboratory, classrooms, and meeting spaces large enough to accommodate community meetings and conferences of up to 150 people with a catering kitchen.
In a previous construction phase, utility infrastructure, highway turn lanes, entry sign, an observatory, yurt, walking trails and five picnic pavilions were completed in 2013.
The idea for the project was initiated more than 12 years ago by the City of Monticello Economic Development Committee. The Discovery Center is now a public-private partnership between Monticello and the Four Corners School of Outdoor Education, based in Monticello since 1984.
Four Corners School has led a multi-year effort to build the Discovery Center. While not all funds have been raised, they are close.
The School has hired seven new staff members this year and plans to hire eight more in 2015. New staff members include:
Steve Munsell is the new Administrative Director. Munsell has more than 30 years of experience in the field of outdoor education, including more than 25 years on the faculty at Prescott College in the adventure education program.
Pamela Moen is the Director of the Discovery Center. Moen is a PhD. candidate in education from North Central University. She has worked in various capacities at Four Corners School for nine years.
Mark Grover and Brett Chappuis are the first two of five eventual Education Coordinators for the Discovery Center. Mark Grover has a Ph.D. in biology. He has 11 years of experience teaching, developing curricula, and overseeing college programs. For the past five years, he has worked as a biologist in the Native Aquatics Program with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.
Brett Chappuis has degrees in English and History from the University of Utah. He has worked on the junior high and high school level, in addition to working for Western Governor’s University.
Michael McGlothlen and Ed Browning are constructing exhibits for the center. Michael worked for the Natural History Museum of Utah and has built exhibits for many of the top museums in the state. Ed has a fine arts degree and a Digital Multimedia degree.
Katrina Reid is the new Administrative Coordinator for the school. She worked for the Sevier School District for the past seven years.
Programming will be focused on continuing education for :
1-Teacher Continuing Education: at the Discovery Center campus; and K-8th grade teachers across the Colorado Plateau in the Bioregional Outdoor Education Project
2-Student Learning: Discovery Center campus programs, home school, and family programs.
3-Young Adult Development: Young adults can participate in service-learning projects; and diverse youth ages 15-25 can join the Canyon Country Youth Corps
4-Lifelong Learning: Visitors of all ages can join campus citizen science, research and certification programs, and astronomy programs; and Southwest Discovery Ed-Ventures
5-Conferences and Events: Organizations and families can rent specific rooms or the entire campus