"We're extremely excited about the project for several reasons," said Ben Mense, Refuge manager.
At an estimated cost between $3.5 and $4 million, the new facility will be about 11,000 square feet. Although the current facility is about 10,000 square feet, it also contains a basement -- a feature not included in the new facility, Mense said.
"The old office had no real capabilities to have school groups come in and do activities," Mense said. "With this new facility, we're fully expecting more school groups and tours in the spring. We also expect an increase in visitors."
Mingo receives about 120,000 visits per year from the public -- from hunters to anglers to bird watchers to those observing wildlife, Mense said.
A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday at the Refuge. A tree planting event with the Refuge staff, Mingo Swamp Friends members and local students from Puxico School District is also scheduled.
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