Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

March 3, 2010

Exhibits Contract for NC Gateway Visitor Center Awarded to Wilderness Graphics, Inc. for $668,500 in Recovery Act Funds

Roanoke Island, N.C. – The planned Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center will include a new array of educational exhibits that interpret wildlife and habitat, help people explore refuges, and teach people how to live green.

Mike Bryant, NC Coastal Plain National Wildlife Refuges Complex Manager, announced today that Wilderness Graphics Inc. of Tallahassee, Fla., has been awarded a $668,500 contract to design, build, and install the new exhibits. Funding for the contract, as for the Visitor Center and Headquarters, comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, popularly known as stimulus funds.

"The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a long and successful history with Wilderness Graphics," said Bryant. "We're thrilled to have them contracted to create exhibits in a Visitor Center that will be a flagship for our region."

In 1999, Wilderness Graphics donated its efforts to help establish the Charles Kuralt Trail - On the Refuge Road in eastern North Carolina. “This trail is an innovative ecotourism initiative and has drawn national attention,” said Bryant. “I have high expectations that exhibits in this Visitor Center will provide increased education to literally hundreds of thousands of visitors each year."

"Working on the Charles Kuralt Trail, we developed a special appreciation for the refuges and wildlife in eastern North Carolina,” said Marvin Cook, president of Wilderness Graphics. “Exhibits will interpret wildlife and habitats inside the Visitor Center but, more importantly, will showcase opportunities for people to get outside to experience on their own the nature of the refuges."

Having been supportive of this project since the fundraising efforts of the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society in the late 1990's, Manteo architect and volunteer refuge consultant John Wilson noted, "I'm so happy to see this dream become a reality. It will only do good things for Manteo and Roanoke Island. Indeed, good things come to those who wait."

The Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center and Headquarters, currently under a Design/Build contract with MWH Constructors, Inc., of Broomfield, Colorado, is scheduled for completion in late summer, 2011. Follow the progress of this project at http://www.fws.gov/ncgatewayvc.

Rendering of Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center and Headquarters
Staff and volunteers of Alligator River and Pea Island National Wildlife Refuges are happy to see the design of the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center and Headquarters take on the "Island" look. John Wilson, Manteo Native and well-known architect, has provided invaluable information about how to make this facility "Island friendly". He commented, "It takes a village... and we're both a part of that village."
Graphics Credit: MWH Constructors, Inc./LS3P Associates Ltd.