This is the new Gateway Visitor Center. Or it will be the Gateway Visitor Center if the MSB ever actually builds it.
This beautiful facility was designed by Wolf Architecture (based in Palmer).
This project has been in the works for years. The MSB obtained the land on the Glenn Highway and the State of Alaska gave us grants for the feasibility study and design but the State would not fund the entire project…and the MSB seems to have no plans in place to come up with the millions more needed to actually build this.
Here is a comment from Scott Easler on the Facebook group “Borough Budget Watch” on this project: “What’s crazy is unless design blueprints are executed within a very close finite period of time they end up having to shelve and redraft them because of building code changes etc. They should’ve waited till they have the funds to actually start building and to move forward on it. What do you bet they won’t break ground for $everal more year$ and will need to reinvent the wheel again at additional expen$e. It seems most of what is $pent on these borough projects goes directly to pay borough employees administratively to justify their job positions. 😒”
Here are the State grant documents from 2013:
Gateway Visitor State Grant Docs
From Wolf’s website:
Client: Matanuska Susitna Borough
Project Type: Regional tourism and community gathering venue
Size: 10,400 SF; 51 acres
Construction Type: Steel and wood frame; curtain wall
Projected Completion: 2018
Wolf Architecture was selected from seven firms to design a long-needed tourism and community center for the South Gateway to the Mat Su Borough. Having previously co-authored a feasibility and planning report for the facility allowed our team to gather programming determinations and advance design schemes quickly. A spacious and light-filled main interpretive gallery overlooks Pioneer Peak and the front range of the Chugach Mountains. A 100-seat auditorium/classroom and associated wet-lab, a commercial catering/cafe and an indoor/outdoor hearth support both local and distant visitor experiences and understanding for the cultural, natural, recreational and business amenities across the Mat-Su Valley. The Visitor Center will welcome visitors to the Mat-Su Valley, showcase the natural beauty of the area, promote tourism-related and recreation-related economic development, provide interpretive information about the region’s cultural history and natural attractions, and foster stewardship of the Mat-Su Valley’s cultural and natural identity. The facility is designed to LEED silver standards.
Here is the “Project Fact Sheet” from the MSB:
This is more information about the project from the MSB’s website:
This project will construct a new 10,400 square foot visitor center complex. The site for this new facility is on the Glenn Highway between the Parks Highway interchange and the City of Palmer on the former Homestead RV Park site.
The goal of the Mat-Su Valley South Gateway Visitor Center is to create a lively, attractive, well designed space where residents and visitors alike will learn about and directly experience the wealth of cultural, natural, recreational and business amenities in the Mat-Su Valley. The Visitor Center will welcome visitors to the Mat-Su Valley, provide interpretive information for travelers, and showcase the natural beauty of the area. The center will also be a destination in its own right, offering interesting activities and learning experiences. Part of the purpose of the Visitor Center is to promote tourism-related and recreation-related economic development, to share information about the region’s cultural history and natural attractions in an innovative and interesting way, and to foster stewardship of the Mat-Su Valley’s cultural and natural identity.
Request for design proposals was advertised with seven proposals evaluated. Wolf Architecture was selected as the designer. Schematic design was presented July 1, 2015 with electrical/mechanical design progressing toward 65% completion. Construction will start 2016 pending funding availability.
Here is the feasibility study from 2010 (It is sort of sad to read the projected timeline of the plan – the grand opening was supposed to be in 2012.)
THIS IS ANOTHER UNFINISHED PROJECT:
The MSB Agricultural Processing Center
What ever happened to this project? Apparently, we paid for a feasibility study (A HUD grant of 447K) and we paid for the design…and then….nada. This was supposed to be located adjacent to the Nutrition Services Center on Cope Industrial.
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