The state of California gave the future Mitchell Canyon Education Center on Mount Diablo a check for $1 million to boost its construction efforts, the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association said Wednesday.
Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan (D-Orinda) presented the check at the site on Sept. 20.
The money will help fund the construction of a cutting-edge Education Center at the Mitchell Canyon entrance to the park.
"I'm thrilled to be presenting this funding which will mark a pivotal step toward enhancing educational opportunities, facilitating better access, and enriching the visitor experience at Mount Diablo," Bauer-Kahan said in a statement. "As chair of the Assembly's Water, Parks, and Wildlife Committee, I understand how crucial open space and nature are for our quality of life here in California, and I am proud of how this partnership will draw more visitors to Mount Diablo."
The center is expected to serve the approximately 35,000 annual visitors who enter the park through Mitchell Canyon. The proposed center will feature a 1,500-square-foot LEED-certified building and an outdoor education pavilion.
The Mount Diablo Interpretive Association said the innovative facility will unlock a range of educational possibilities, offering invaluable learning experiences for area schools and delivering in-depth information about the mountain to visitors.
"A central objective of the education center is to cater to underrepresented students in Contra Costa County, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to connect with the natural wonders of Mount Diablo," said the association's president Steve Smith. "This funding will allow us to continue on the path to meeting that objective and better serving this community."
The center will house permanent and rotating exhibits, fostering "an immersive and dynamic learning environment," the association said. It will feature an audio-visual area, enhancing the educational experience for visitors of all ages.
A 25-year-old portable trailer currently serves as the visitor center while the Mount Diablo Interpretive Association raised the $3 million it says will significantly increase access to the park and its programs.
The Mitchell Canyon entrance is on the mountain's northwest side, about a mile from Clayton.
The new center would include lots of space for school bus turnarounds and parking. The association said the new center would greatly increase access for local students.
Designed by Ware Associates Inc., the new education center's energy-efficient, environmentally responsive design would serve as a model for other structures located in urban wildfire interface zones -- a consideration of increasing importance because of California's expanding fire season, association officials have said.
To find out more, go to MDIA.org.