Sterling Nature Center redesign

The building concept for a proposed redesign of the Sterling Nature Center.

AUBURN — A possible redesign for the Sterling Nature Center took another step Monday, as a Cayuga County Legislature committee Tuesday approved a resolution to apply for grant funding for the project's documentation phase.

In April, the county Parks and Trails Commission approved a design for a proposed replacement to the current Jensvold House Interpretive Building.

With the design approved, the Legislature's Public Works Committee authorized the Department of Planning and Economic Development to apply for a state grant to help fund the development of construction documents for the project.

The design, created by Auburn-based Beardsley Architects and Engineers and paid for by Friends of the Sterling Nature Center, proposes a barn-inspired building with sustainable features — such as water re-use, recycled materials or rain gardens — meant to serve a functional and educational purpose.  

Replacing the existing interpretive building was one of the highest priorities listed in the center's 10-year functional management plan, completed in 2016.

If the county's application to the state's 2019 round of Environmental Protection Fund grants is successful, the state would provide $154,359 for the project.

The county's share would come from a $139,650 cash contribution from a previously established reserve account for the center and $14,700 in county staff in-kind services and grant administration.

Once a bid is approved and a contractor creates the construction documents, the next step would be to seek further funding for the actual construction, county Buildings and Grounds Superintendent Gary Duckett said.

When Beardsley staff members presented the design in April, they described a possible final cost of $3.86 million for the project, to be completed in two phases over several years.

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Staff writer Ryan Franklin can be reached at (315) 282-2252 or ryan.franklin@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @RyanNYFranklin