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Raptor Center planning renovation and expansion

By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole News&Guide
November 07, 2012

The Teton Raptor Center is planning a multimillion-dollar project that could add two new buildings to the Hardeman Ranch and renovate the historic structures already located there.

The nonprofit submitted an application to the county planning office last week that marks the first step in what is expected to be a long process of fundraising and planning approvals.

“This is a chance to do something really special,” the raptor center’s executive director, Amy Brennan McCarthy, said Monday.

The Jackson Hole Land Trust owns the 26.8-acre Hardeman Ranch in Wilson. It leases two buildings — an old horse barn and a former machine shed — to the raptor center.

Raptor center officials say their facilities are cramped and aren’t ideal for the raptors or visitors. The project is supposed to address both groups, opening more of the historic building onsite to residents while creating better conditions for healing birds.

Raptor center staff and board members have worked with county planners, representatives from the land trust, engineers and architects about various parts of the project for several years, they said.

If approved, the project could begin next summer.

The first phase consists of turning the existing raptor barn into a single-purpose classroom area. It now serves as an education center, clinic and holding area for the raptors.

The raptor center would build a new, 3,200-square-foot barn to serve as a hospital and holding area for injured raptors. This building also would have a radiology and intensive care unit, a kitchen and a staff office.

In spring 2014, crews would start expanding the existing bunkhouse, adding another 350 square feet to the structure to accommodate visiting veterinarians, instructors and interns. The second phase also calls for building a 560-square-foot storage shed, installing an interpretative walking trail, relocating some parking spaces and expanding a yard for raptors.

The next part of the project would focus on renovating the bull barn. Raptor center officials want to create classroom space, meeting areas and a bird demonstration area.

In the final phase — slated for spring and summer 2015 — crews would focus their attention on restoring the main barn.

Plans call for a new entrance to the iconic structure. Raptor center staff said they want to create an educational center in the second floor of the barn and use the ground floor for offices, classrooms, study areas, offices and potentially a library.

They also want to restore the pump house and horse barn.

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