Hartman Reserve Nature Center looks to update old building - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hartman Reserve Nature Center looks to update old building

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The 300-acre oasis in the center of Black Hawk County may soon get a make over.

Hartman Reserve Nature Center wants to replace the interpretive building on the grounds. It was built in the early 1940s, and the reserve said it's outgrown the space.

The east wing of the interpretive building can be rented for events, meetings and largely serves an educational purpose. School groups often schedule crafts and activities in the east wing, and director Ed Gruenwald said that's where the learning comes to life.

"I've always though of making the nature center more of an extension of the classroom laboratory, so they're not missing out when they come out to Hartman, it's more classroom experience in an outdoor setting," Gruenwald said.

The problem now is lack of space and adequate infrastructure. The reserve said the building lacks energy efficiency and also needs a new roof and windows. It holds 40 pounds per square foot, but International Business Codes' standards would like it to hold 100 pounds per square foot. The new space would provide better sight lines to areas outside the east wing and be constructed according to LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

It comfortably holds about 100 people, but it wants to continue expanding to reach a wider audience.

"Other activities that are larger like big school groups or some kind of reception or program, we don't want to have a situation where we cannot have events at the interpretive center which is the entree point for all the black hawk county grounds," said Bob Frederick, member of the Friends of Hartman Reserve.

The Friends of Hartman Reserve are leading the effort in replacing the building. It proposed the plan to the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning. The reserve said it doesn't want to alter the current footprint of the building, but rather replace it with a more modern, up-to-date version.

If approved, the estimated cost of the project is $2 million; fundraising would take place through grants and private donations.

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