The Environmental Learning Center is on its way to becoming a reality as it looks to enter phase two — conceptual design and the creation of a master plan.
Jones Studios of Tempe will be handling that process after being selected as a result of a request for proposals.
“With the completion of this two-volume set of project program and cost data,” Neal Jones of Jones Studios said, “we conclude the Environmental Learning Center is a viable project and recommend moving forward with a design study exploring the possibilities of the conceptual master plan and facility architecture.”
Charlie Cassens, former Lake Havasu City manager and volunteer for Pillar 4 (water) of the Vision 2020 plan, said, “Phase two would take everything that has been allocated space-wise and actually make pictures out of it.”
The project space has been allocated for a variety of things, including a botanical garden, classrooms, exhibit space and lab space.
“Lake Havasu City has a state certified water quality laboratory that we need to upgrade. So this provides an opportunity for us to actually build a state-of-the-art new water quality laboratory,” Cassens said. “That lab will not just be another door in the hallway of this facility. The lab itself is actually going to be a glass wall where people who come in there… will actually see professional water quality people at work.”
“Now what we need to do is figure out what it’s going to look like so that I can take that show on the road… and start getting pledges and actual commitments, recognizing that the potential partners that we would have in this are most likely government entities,” Cassens said. “As soon as we can get that contract initiated, it should take about three or four months to get there.”
Jones Studios “engaged the services of a grant writer who is out there looking for grant opportunities to begin the application process,” according to Cassens.
“The vision is to have a facility that makes Lake Havasu City the subject matter experts, or an opportunity for those subject matter experts to come to this facility to get data, to generate data, to use the laboratory, to use the facility,” Cassens said.
“We’re taking this one baby step at a time and we’re going to eat this elephant one bite at a time, and hopefully in the end, we’ll end up with something that, not just this community, but the entire Southwest can be proud of,” Cassens said.