LAKE ARIEL — Aiming to expand its educational capacity for future generations, the Lacawac Sanctuary is seeking grant funding and private donors to build capital for construction of a new Environmental Education Center.

Last year, Lacawac purchased the former home of its founder, Arthur Watres, and is looking to convert it into a new structure to facilitate environmental learning and STEM education for preschool students all the way through Grade 12.

According to a press release, the new education center “...will increase capacity to serve more students, allow Lacawac to provide environmental science programs year round both indoors and outdoors, and offer a venue where everyone can reconnect to nature and world.”

Estimated costs for phase one of the project, as noted in the 2017 Master Site Plan Update linked with the release, total $115,107.

Dependent on public funding as a nonprofit 501(c)(3), Lacawac is currently seeking grants through the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and private donors to fund this endeavor.

“We are inviting and encouraging our friends, supporters and everyone who cares about our work to participate in this campaign to prepare for the next 50 years,” states a release.

In addition to landscaping and bringing the structure up to all current building code and ADA compliance, the project plans indicate Lacawac is looking to add a new 1600 square-foot pavilion room attached to a new, two-story wing for classroom and research space.

The master plan update reads, “The Pavilion Room is envisioned as a clear span space approximately 40x40 feet – with simple but dramatic shed roof planes that allow light in from the south and focus views on Heron Pond. The new shed roof is envisioned as a 'green roof' stormwater BMP with rainwater collection system and with the possibility of serving as a teaching station.”

The lower floor is also envisioned as a 40x40-foot classroom space with columns supporting the upper room.

Both floors of the pavilion addition are planned to have walk-out access to grade.

The pavilion room is also planned to have an observation deck attached to it.

The full Master Site Plan Update is available for public review at lacawac.org/environmental-education-center.

Lacawac is looking for public feedback regarding the plans. A comment link is available on the website.

More information about the plans to develop the environmental education center are available from Lacawac President, Craig Lukatch at craig.lukatch@lacawac.org.

—Information from a release was used in this story.