The new Nature Centre at Guelph Lake Conservation Area is getting closer to reality.
The Grand River Conservation Area recently agreed to contribute $100,000 to the project, bringing the total money raised for the project to $1.82 million.
The new centre is projected to cost between $2 million and $2.5 million. The fundraising goal is $2.5 million.
"We're much closer to our goal and ready to move forward," said Lisa Stocco, Manager of Communications for the GRCA.
The GRCA hopes to have the new facility, which will be located inside the park near the parking area for the main beach, open in the summer of 2020.
The GRCA approved moving ahead with construction drawings, detailed design and the specifications that are needed to send the project out for tender.
The existing nature centre, located in a former house on Conservation Road, will continue to remain open and offer programming until the new facility is built, Stocco said. That facility has been used since 1980.
"We've been working on the fundraising component for a number of years now," Stocco said. "We're much closer to the goal and we're ready to move on to that next step, which is to look at some design plans and specifications so that we can tender the project out."
Stocco said that to hit the 2020 opening date, construction would likely have to start at the end of next year or early 2019.
The exact size has not been determined, but the facility will be used for both Nature Centre and park programming.
"Obviously we'll be considering a lot of things and want it to be an accessible place for everyone, a very inclusive environment. Not only for the school groups that go through the Nature Centre but the community as a whole."
The Grand River Conservation Foundation will continue to work toward the $2.5 million goal of the fundraising campaign.
Most recently, the Rotary Club of Guelph announced its Centennial Project at Guelph Lake, which includes a planetarium for the nature centre and $250,000 toward construction of the nature centre.