COOKSBURG, Pa. (EYT) — Work is progressing on a new office at Cook Forest State Park, and it is expected to be completed in the winter of 2019.
According to park manager Ryan Borcz, construction began in September 2017.
“It is located behind the current office and sits above the kids fishing pond,” Borcz said. “We don’t have an exact date of when will we move in, but we’re hoping about a year from now.”
Borcz said the new building is going to be much larger and will feature more room for park visitors as well as employees.
“It will have restrooms that will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Borcz said. “The lobby will also feature interactive exhibits that will illustrate everything the park has to offer.”
In addition, the new office will have a meeting room that will seat between 40 and 50 people. There will also be offices for all of the park employees.
“The interpretive displays, maps, and brochures will make it easier for visitors to realize everything we have here,” Borcz said. “We are also looking forward to having all our employees under one roof.”
The current park office isn’t big enough to accommodate more than a few visitors and not nearly all of the park staff.
“Things should run a lot smoother with everyone under one roof,” Borcz said.
The current office has been in use for more than 40 years and severe flooding in 2014 left four feet of water in the lower level.
“We lost thousands of dollars in state property because of all the damage. With the office sitting in the floodplain, it was time to get a new office which won’t be in the floodplain,” Borcz said. “We’ve made the best of it, but we will be happy to be in a new building where we can serve the public better.”
The entire project will cost $3 million, which is being paid for through the state government’s Department of General Services (DGS).
Borcz said the DGS has a construction manager at the job site.
“We have very good contractors and most of the building is under roof and the windows are all installed,” Borcz said.
Cook Forest State Park is one of Pennsylvania’s signature parks featuring old-growth forests of towering white pines and hemlocks, the Clarion River, and miles of hiking trails.
Annually, the park is visited by hundreds of thousands of people.
Last month, the PA Parks and Forests Foundation announced that Cook Forest State Park was named its Park of the Year. The park is recognized for its exemplary and innovative work in customer service, education, programming, and recreation – along with other outstanding features.