SPC wildlife habitat, science center work to start with gentle touch

SEMINOLE — Construction is scheduled to begin this week on a wildlife habitat and science pavilion on the northern end of the St. Petersburg College campus.

Construction will include a trail, boardwalk, bridge, floating dock and environmental center that will be used for educational programs and be open to area residents.

The first step is laying out the trail. That was expected to happen Tuesday. The project is expected to be substantially complete by July 19 and finished by Aug. 16.

"We really hope this project generates excitement," said Jim Olliver, provost of the Seminole campus. He added that the school hopes to add to the trail and include more features in the future.

Construction has been a long time coming. The college announced the concept in 2008 when it began raising money to build the center.

Last year, the college cleared invasive species off the 100-acre wetlands parcel and, last month, planted 1,000 slash pines along the perimeter of the wetlands at 102nd Avenue and Ridge Road. Future plantings will wait until it's clear how well native species grow back on their own.

Construction will take place on about 27 of the wetlands' 100 acres. The boardwalk will be built using "top down construction," said Michael Carter, the college's director of design and construction. Top down construction is a process in which part of the boardwalk is installed, then the next part is built using small-size equipment resting on the recently installed section, and thus it progresses forward.

"We're really glad we were able to use this type of construction in the wetlands because we're sensitive to the (impact on the environment),'' Carter said. This is a way of "getting to a boardwalk without doing a lot of damage to the wetlands."

Reach Anne Lindberg at alindberg@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8450.

SPC wildlife habitat, science center work to start with gentle touch 03/20/10 [Last modified: Friday, March 19, 2010 3:52pm]

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