State and local officials gathered this morning in downtown Raleigh to place a ceremonial tree on top of the Nature Research Center, the N.C. Museum of National Sciences’ new 80,000-square-foot wing.
The tree, an eastern red ceder, was lifted up by a crane and placed on the building’s highest point. The center, currently under construction, is expected to open in early 2012.
The Nature Research Center is a $54 million public-private project. The state contributed $10 million for it; the rest is being paid for with private donations.
The center is part of the Green Square Project, a complex of eco-friendly buildings now under construction on two blocks between Jones and Edenton streets.
Estimated to cost more than $100 million, the entire Green Square is scheduled to be completed by early 2012.
In addition to the environmental science center, Green Square includes a parking deck and a building for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
The State Employees’ Credit Union is also building a 12-story speculative office building at 119 N. Salisbury St. that will be integrated into Green Square.
It's scheduled to open in the spring of 2012.
SECU has pledged $4 million toward the construction of the Natural Research Center.
SECU's grant will be used to build the SECU Daily Planet, a state-of-the-art, multimedia presentation area that will be the centerpiece of the research center.
It will broadcast live feeds of science news to school audiences across the state.
The Green Square project and the credit union building are the rare new projects that haven't been laid low by the credit crunch, which has made it extremely costly for private developers to borrow money.