New Nature Center Construction Shifts Inside

Construction is taking shape at the new Los Alamos County Nature Center on Canyon Road. Courtesy/PEEC
A rendering shows some of the exhibits slated for the new nature center. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

If you’ve driven past the construction site of the new nature center at 2600 Canyon Road lately, you have probably noticed that things are moving right along.

The exterior is being finished with an Exterior Finishing and Insulation System (EFIS), to make it look like stucco, but be more durable and waterproof. Also, preparations are being made for solar panels to be added to the exterior at a later date.

“Even though I’ve been looking at the plans for months, seeing the building actually going up is a whole different experience,” said Katie Watson, executive director of the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC). PEEC has been chosen to run the new nature center, which is owned by Los Alamos County and will open in spring, 2015.

Soon, progress will start shifting more toward inside construction. One inside element under current review is the interior wall surface of the planetarium. Surface materials are being chosen to ensure the acoustics in the planetarium are optimized for both talks and shows. 

Interior design details such as carpet and countertops are now being finalized as well.

Work continues on the professional exhibits, which are being custom-made and will begin to be installed early next year. As part of its agreement with the County, PEEC is raising $1.2 million to fund the exhibits, which will belong to the new center.

The new nature center is a public-private partnership between Los Alamos County and PEEC. Under the partnership agreement, the County is responsible for construction of the facility, which is slated to cost $4.3 million.

PEEC, a grassroots organization that currently operates a small nature center on Orange Street, has been chosen by the County to operate the new nature center. Also as part of the agreement, PEEC is planning and funding professional indoor and outdoor exhibits and a professional planetarium projector, which are expected to cost around $1.2 million; PEEC has raised about 90 percent of that goal to date.

Find out more about the new nature center at