The construction at the north end of the parking lot on the east side of Phil Hardberger Park is nearing completion as the long-awaited Salado Classroom Building is expected to open to the public in November.
In addition to providing public restrooms, the building will be used to host educational programs and provide office space for Parks and Recreation staff. The building features an open-air classroom with seating for approximately 50 people. The classroom is shaded and contains a huge overhead fan to allow for year-round utilization of the facility.
In keeping with the mission of the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy to advocate renewal, recreation, and learning through nature in an urban setting, the building includes numerous sustainability features, including solar panels that will completely power the building and allow for excess energy to be put back into the grid and water cisterns that will collect and store rainwater for irrigating new plantings.
Along with the public restrooms, the building offers park visitors a filtered water bottle filler. The Salado Bypass Trail, which connects Hardberger Park to the Salado Creek Greenway / Voelcker Lane, will run right through the middle of the building.
The building was designed by Fisher Heck Architects with Stephen Stimson Associates and was built by Sabinal Group.
New Overlook showcases Salado Creek
Also scheduled to open in November is the new Salado Creek Overlook, a steel structure perched high on a bluff overlooking Salado Creek.
It was built with metal grating so when users walk on it, they can see the natural landscape 30 feet below them. The Overlook connects to the Salado Creek Greenway/Voelcker Lane and is designed to be a place where visitors can take a break, reflect in nature and study the geologic features of the normally-dry Salado Creek.