Crater Lake learning center dedicated
Herald and News
Klamath Falls, Oregon
August 23, 2002
By LEE JUILLERAT
CRATER LAKE — One eye on the past, the other on the future.
Five days of activities celebrating Crater Lake’s 100th year as a national park began Thursday with a nostalgic look back, and eager glance forward during dedication ceremonies for the future home of the Crater Lake Science and Learning Center.
“Today we are taking a look back, and we are going forward,” said Superintendent Chuck Lundy at the center’s future office, the 70-year-old former superintendent’s residence in Munson Valley. “This building symbolically will become the living, breathing center of the science and learning center.”
Park officials plan to use the center as an “outdoor classroom” for researchers, educators and students, possibly by late 2004.
The center office, and another nearby historic building that will be converted for temporary housing, will be used with existing park research facilities, including conference and lecture rooms, libraries, a water laboratory and a research vessel.
National Park Service Director Fran Mainella applauded the park’s efforts and credited Rod Wendt, president of Jeld-Wen and the Jeld-Wen Foundation, for providing a $500,000 challenge grant.
“We can’t do this alone anymore,” said Mainella of park service programs. “Working outside our boundaries is a must. The key we look for is partnerships.”
Nearly $800,000 has all ready been raised, not including $1.25 million in park admission charges for the research center. Lundy said the one-time cost for developing the center, including major renovations at the two buildings, is about $1.8 million while annual operating costs will be about $328,000.
It will cost $1.25 million to completely restore the former superintendent’s residence, which was closed in 1998 because of safety concerns. The cost renovating the future dormitory is $368,000.
Lundy said the former superintendent’s residence, which had been used by seasonal employees until it was closed in 1998 for safety reasons, features an architectural style that is “National Park Service rustic — this one is particularly rustic.”
The park will also use money from the sale of Crater Lake license plates, which will be available at state motor vehicle offices beginning Monday, and National Park Service Natural Resource Challenge grants.
Jim Maddy, president of the National Park Foundation, said the Jeld-Wen gift means “this dream (for the science center) is unstoppable now.”
Following ceremonies, Wendt said the center fit the foundation’s goal of providing money to programs that “improve the quality of life and services.” He noted that large numbers of Jeld-Wen employees work in an area surrounding the park, including Klamath, Jackson and Josephine counties, and that “our largest employee base is Oregon.”
Wendt said the foundation favors capital grants because, “If it goes into ‘bricks and mortar,’ it tends to be long lasting.”
“We decided it was a natural thing to do,” said Wendt, a lifelong Klamath Falls resident who has visited the park since he was a child. “I’ve been to the park a number of times over the years and I appreciate its natural beauty, its awesome beauty.”
Steve Boyarsky, Southern Oregon Education Service District curriculum coordinator, said the district has been field testing Crater Lake-based programs over the last 18 months with five schools. He predicted expanded programs will involve kindergarten through senior high school, and lead to summer institutes and expanded research studies.
“Every child should experience the value and beauty of this magnificent natural resource,” said Boyarsky.
Martha Anne Dow, Oregon Institute of Technology president, said the college has already begun developing programs in cooperation with the park.
“Education should be a hands-on living experience,” said Dow. “There is nothing more important than life-long learning.”
During the afternoon, many of the invited guests, including Mainella took a boat tour of the lake that featured a stop at the park research vessel and talks by park ranger Gregg Pohll and aquatic biologist Mark Buktenica.
Regional Editor Lee Juillerat covers Lake, Siskiyou, Modoc and northern Klamath counties. He can be reached at 885-4421, (800) 275-0982, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.