Friday, April 19, 2024
After getting citizen input, the above is an artist’s drawing of the design of the environmental classroom building that will be constructed at the park planned for land adjacent to the Dodge County Transit Station.

County unveils design for new park building

Dodge County officials are planning on building a new environmental classroom as part of a 32-acre public park planned adjacent to the County Transfer Station and Recycling Center. A view of the updated plans for the building was introduced to the public last Friday during a Zoom session.

The county has conducted several public information sessions to get citizen input and is working with the Southeast Regional Sustainable Development Partnership (SRSDP) and the Center for Sustainable Building Research (CSBR) of the University of Minnesota College of Design to design the educational components of the park project.

The park will be adjacent to the Dodge County Transfer Station and near the Kasson-Mantorville High School.

Dodge County’s 2019 Comprehensive Land Use Plan identified a need for more natural and recreational areas in the county based on citizen input. The park and environmental classroom are part of this effort.

A 2017 survey by the county regarding recreational opportunities in Dodge County showed that residents listed trails and parks as the top necessities, said Dan Handeen of CSBR during the Zoom presentation.

Development of the educational components of the park, he said, will include demonstration rain gardens, plant and pollinator identification areas, exhibits, sculpture, and an environmental learning center building.

The entire project will be done in three phases with Phase 1 being forest enhancement, Phase 2 the establishment of native prairie pollinator plantings and Phase 3 the education and demonstration area which includes the environmental building.

After holding community meetings, as well as having an online survey, three designs for the environmental building were developed to support activities suggested by the community including learning/education, connection to nature, and exercise/physical activity. The three designs were Prairie, Trailway, and Garden. The Garden design is used as the basis for the final design.

The building, Handeen said, has a goal to be net-zero energy, meaning it will generate as much power as it uses on an annual basis.

Another goal is to use reclaimed material as the outside siding on the building. As the park will be adjacent to the transfer center these items could include such things as structural timbers, dimensional lumber, siding, insulation pavers or concrete slabs, or large logs or concrete for landscape features.

Inside will be open meeting and classroom space and natural lighting will also be a feature.

The entire project is still in the planning stages, said Melissa DeVetter, of Environmental Services. There is currently no timeline for the construction of the classroom building.

“This is a big project,” DeVetter said. “There is not really a set timeline.”

Although the concept has been developed, Handeen said, the work of the CSBR and SRSDP is also not complete.

Process documentation and schematic design will be included in the final report to Dodge County, he said.

He added that last minute suggestions or comments are welcome.



Dodge County Independent

Dodge County Independent
Dodge County ADvantage
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

Dodge County Printing
301 S. Mantorville Ave.
Plaza 57 • Suite 200
Kasson, MN 55944

Monday-Thursday 10a.m.-3p.m.