Monday, Apr 22, 2013
The Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park reopened to the public earlier this month following the completion of renovations to the main lobby and visitor contact area.
This project was made possible with funding provided by Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies. The renovated visitor contact area creates a sense of arrival and serves to enhance visitor orientation. Visitors are provided park information and directed to interactive exhibits which introduce them to natural resource challenges such as air quality and forest health.
Along with lighting system improvements, the new visitor information desk and exhibits are laid out in a more open space allowing for better circulation and overall accessibility.
“The renovated space allows us to better serve the 850,000 visitors who come through the visitor center annually as well as our local community, who have long enjoyed the natural history museum,” said Elizabeth Dupree, the park’s chief of resource education.
The majority of the renovations were performed by park crews who worked during the evening hours to install new flooring and lighting, repaint the area, and develop a new entrance into the natural history museum. A masonry wall was created that mirrors the original architecture of the building, inviting park visitors into the newly redesigned visitor contact area.
The visitor center remained open throughout the construction period with visitor center staff and volunteers serving visitors, at times, in limited space surrounded by ongoing construction.