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NPS Approves Plans for New Yellowstone Youth Campus

Yellowstone National Park has approved a new plan for the Yellowstone Youth Campus, following a period of public comment earlier this year.

According to a Yellowstone press release, the park will opt to build a new campus in Mammoth Hot Springs to replace the current one. National Park Service Intermountain Regional Director Sue Masica approved the new Yellowstone Youth Campus plan October 4, 2017.

Yellowstone opened comment on the Youth Campus plan in July. Under the proposal, Yellowstone could have either relocated the existing campus or constructed a new one. There was also a “no action alternative.” From the press release:

The current campus was constructed in 1978. Functionally out of date, the inadequate dormitory, classroom, and office space do not meet the needs of today’s students and staff. Its accessibility, energy efficiency, and parking are also deficient.

The new campus buildings will be designed and constructed to meet the Living Building Challenge, a green building certification program and sustainable design framework that requires performance standards demonstrated over twelve consecutive months. For example, 105 percent of the campus’s energy needs must be supplied by on-site renewable energy on a net annual basis, without the use of on-site combustion.

A portion of the campus will be built on a previously disturbed site. The development will allow for overnight stays for up to 140 students at a time, which is more than double the capacity of the current facility.

Superintendent Dan Wenk remarked that, “The youth campus will be funded through a combination of philanthropic donations received by our non-profit partner, Yellowstone Forever, and federal support. The campus we build together will teach sustainability. It will facilitate high quality learning experiences and inspire students to be life-long learners and stewards of Yellowstone long into the National Park Service’s second century.”

You can see documents pertaining to the decision here, courtesy of the NPS’ Planning, Environment and Public Comment site. In addition, you can see a rendering of the proposed campus above.

The park hopes to complete the new Yellowstone Youth Campus by 2022—in time for Yellowstone’s 150th anniversary.

About Sean Reichard

Sean Reichard is the editor of Yellowstone Insider and author of Yellowstone Insider For Families 2017.

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