Construction underway at new community learning center

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Imagine being able to walk out the doors of your school and into a science and nature wonderland.

The Andeavor Refinery is funding a $59,000 outdoor community learning center.

The Eco Education Site is already under construction at Horizon Middle School.

This land will soon be filled with wetlands and prairie grasses. The idea for the Andeavor Outdoor Community Learning Center came about because Jim Collins says North Dakotans are losing touch with the outdoors.

“What this site is designed to do is get people back in touch with that and learn about prairie range land, wetlands, forestry, soil, geology, botany, zoology, all of those subjects,” said Jim Collins, environmental scientist with the North Dakota Department of Health.

Incoming sixth-graders will help develop the project this summer.

“It's wonderful that it's a community project, and that it's not just a learning spot for Horizon but it's a learning spot for the entire community and schools in the area,” said Tabby Rabenberg, Horizon Middle School principal.

The shelters will also utilize interactive technology.

“So you'll be able to walk up with your smart phone and zap a QR code and up will pop a video that's done by the students of Horizon explaining what a wetland is, what a watershed is,” said Collins.

It may just be some snow covered hills now but Collins says the project is expected to be completed by the start of school next fall.