PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Eleven years have passed since the fire that destroyed a popular nature center in Squirrel Hill. Now, plans for a new one are nearing completion.

Curator Susan Rademacher, of the Pittsburgh Parks Conservatory, says construction of an all new Frick Environmental Center will begin in the spring.

“Our new building will be in about the same place so we’re not disturbing any more of the park,” she said. “But it’s going to be about seeing out through the windows, learning enough to get you eager to go out into the park. It’s going to go down three stories on the back side. But on this side, as you enter, you’re just going to see a beautiful, long one-story building with a glass wall.”

Summer day camps and school visits will continue, even after construction gets underway.

The $15 million project involves more than the main building. Among the additions, a natural amphitheater for special events.

“We’re walking through the historic entrance to Frick Park with the beautiful flanking gate houses and entry here,” Rademacher says. “They will be restored as part of the environmental project. There will be a classroom in one building, and there will be an open air classroom in the other building.”

Native black gum trees will be planted on either side of the walkway, and the fountain will be turned on for the first time in more than 30 years.

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