Environmental Education Center Receives Prestigious AIA New York State Excelsior Award

Beardsley Architects + Engineers is pleased to announce that the Environmental Education Center at Green Lakes State Park in Fayetteville, NY, has been selected by AIA New York State to receive a 2020 Excelsior Award, Award of Merit, in the Historic Preservation category. The awards program recognizes public architecture projects throughout New York State. “We are very proud of our many accomplishments working in close partnership with the team at the Central New York State Parks Region in service to Park visitors and our community,” says Barry Halperin, AIA, NCARB, Architect for the project. “Their passion for making Park visits great for everyone makes the work we do with them very special.”

Originally constructed in 1942, the historic boathouse at Green Lakes State Park is an iconic structure to anyone who has visited the beach at the north end of Green Lake. The building had been in use since its construction but lacked an adequate foundation due to poor soils. The NYS Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRPH) selected Beardsley to design the restoration and conversion of the building into a new environmental education center. As a registered historic structure, renovations also required coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office.

To create the new environmental education center and alleviate structural issues, the existing structure was meticulously dismantled and re-built on an entirely new foundation system. Special care was given to preserving as much of the building as possible. Following relocation, the building was restored and renovated to provide four-season usage. The central exhibit space, anchored by preserved stone columns, includes educational kiosks and displays about the Park’s unique meromictic lakes, wildlife and habitats, and history. The building also includes restrooms, a small kitchenette, offices for Park educators, and generous storage space on the main floor and in the full basement. An outdoor education space was created for use by Park educators for school groups or other interpretive presentations. A small boat rental building was also relocated and renovated for continued use.

The building also includes restrooms, a small kitchenette, offices for Park educators, and generous storage space on the main floor and in the full basement. An outdoor education space was created for use by Park educators for school groups or other interpretive presentations. A small boat rental building was also relocated and renovated for continued use. Visitors can now enjoy the lakefront boardwalk or launch their kayak or canoe from new docks that connect to the boardwalk.

An interpretive center like this one did not previously exist in the Park and has allowed Park educators to vastly expand and enhance their programming. The interior and exterior spaces provide an array of learning opportunities to students and the public through the use of interactive displays within the exhibit space as well as outdoor signage along the boardwalk. In addition, opportunities for school groups to visit the Park have expanded, particularly through the Connect-Kids-to-Parks Field Trip Grant Program, which provides the financial assistance necessary to connect kids throughout New York with history and nature.