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.S. Forest Service breaks ground on new $1 million Bent Creek conference and education center



6/7/2009 - U.S. Forest Service breaks ground on new $1 million Bent Creek conference and education center

BENT CREEK -- U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler and U.S. Forest Service officials will break ground on a $1 million conference and education center during a ceremony on Monday.

Shuler will joined Southern Research Station Director Jim Reaves, other Forest Service officials and local leaders for the ceremony and briefing on the new $1 million conference and education center at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest south of Asheville. The event is at 9 a.m. at Bent Creek.

The new conference building will be located at the Bent Creek administrative site and near the existing nursery; the old conference modular trailer will be removed following completion of the new building. The new building will also adhere to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. In addition, a parking area for about 50 vehicles will be developed, and utility lines will be placed below ground.

The new conference building will meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) Accessibility Guidelines and is expected to be constructed in late 2008 and early 2009. The new building will be about 4,300 ft2 in size and a septic field will be developed. Non-native invasive species such as Oriental bittersweet would be treated as often as needed with herbicide (Glyphosate and/or Triclopyr) or by manually pulling/cutting to reduce their potential for spread.

The access road will use the existing ~1/5 mile gravel road near the nursery. The access road will be paved, will become a classified (system) road, and will be placed on the Forests transportation system to receive future maintenance (see also Roads Analysis, Appendix B). Some trees (predominantly white pine and scarlet oak) and brush will be removed to facilitate construction of the parking area and conference center; however, in keeping with LEED design features, the fewest number of trees and brush will be cut as possible...


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