New visitor center

A concept drawing for the new visitor center under construction at Logoly State Park.

The visitor center at Logoly State Park in McNeil is currently closed so that construction can begin on the park’s new visitor center.

A 7,161-square-foot building will be erected on the site of the old visitor center. It will seek a LEED Gold rating. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating is a green building certification that recognizes sustainable building and development practices.

This rating would be fitting as Logoly State Park is Arkansas’s first environmental education state park. When this state park opened in 1978, it had the distinction of not only being the first environmental education park in the state, but also only the third of its kind in the nation.

At Logoly, interpreters present workshops on ecological and environmental topics and the park’s natural resources provide a living laboratory for students and nature lovers alike. Most of Logoly’s 368 acres comprise a State Natural Area that includes unique plant species and mineral springs.

During construction, the park office will be relocated to a trailer near the park bathhouse. This temporary office will serve park visitors until the new visitor center is completed. Construction on the new visitor center will take about 18 months.

According to Jeff King, Chief Park Planner at Arkansas State Parks “the structure will include passive solar heating, photovoltaic roof panels, and a rainwater harvesting system all intended to lessen the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the structure on the surrounding landscape. The facility will also use a geothermal system for air conditioning to reduce overall electricity costs.”

The center will focus on environmental education containing exhibits as well as multi-purpose rooms, which will provide space for seminars and classes. Offices for park staff are also included as well as a gift shop and welcome desk.

The exhibit room is the main event for most visitors. Hands-on interactive exhibits as well as live reptile displays and informative kiosks will comprise the experience for visitors. Also included is a 75-seat amphitheater outside the building for outdoor educational programs.

For more details on the park, visit arkansasstateparks.com/logoly/ or call 870-695-3561.

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