Kalamazoo Nature Center

Heronwood Field Station

Kalamazoo, Michigan // 5,400 sq. ft.

The Kalamazoo Nature Center (KNC), through the generous donation of a long-time supporter, had the opportunity to develop an entirely new program to serve the needs of middle and high-school-age youth and college students. In partnership with the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency and Kalamazoo and Allegan County school districts, the KNC identified a beautiful, custom-built log home and barn nestled in 60 acres to house a new Natural Resources Conservation Center.

The TowerPinkster team prepared a feasibility study of the property to accommodate over 30 interested students. Following a programming exercise, recommendations were made for site improvements and upgrades to the existing home and barn structure to convert the building into an educational environment for exploring natural resources.

Renovations to the facility included creating a new lab for field research, converting the existing recreation room into a classroom area, defining collaborative group rooms for team projects, restroom finish upgrades, and converting a loft area into an open office workspace. The master bedroom was also converted into a group work area, and the existing enclosed porch became a new entry foyer for the facility. In order to provide room for visiting researchers, the existing garage was also transformed into a living space. Lighting throughout the facility was updated with LED fixtures, and occupancy sensors replaced standard lighting control panels. In addition to adding proper wayfinding to the site, parking and circulation were improved for bus access, and a walkway platform was added over a large marsh area. Also utilized for fundraising events and other special uses, the new facility is a vibrant Natural Resources Conservation Center for students and researchers.

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