POLK COUNTY, Iowa -- One of the biggest and most popular parks in Polk County will soon have a new gateway.
On Wednesday ground was broken on the "Robert E. Jester Nature Center" at Jester Park. The $11 million facility is the largest part of a multi-year, multi-million dollar makeover.
The center will turn Jester Park into a year round education opportunity for students around the metro. It will host school field trips during the winter months. During the summer it will serve as a hub for equipment rentals at the park.
The nature center's namesake, Robert Jester, helped break ground on Wednesday. He says it will serve a vital role in educating metro students who may feel isolated from nature and Iowa history.
"The big thing we to do is teach kids," Jester said, " 20, 30, 40 years from now they're going to be important people ... we need to make sure they get it."
The center is scheduled to open on April 22nd, 2018 ... Earth Day.