Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation hired J.M. Cope to construct the new, County-owned Steven’s Creek Nature Preserve and Welcome Center. The project was a 12,000 SF nature center built between Country Woods subdivision and I-485.
Mecklenburg County Storm Water restored Stevens Creek, the creek running through the property, to alleviate erosion concerns. The creek plays a large role in the nature preserve. The focus of the nature center is on stream ecology, and there is an indoor and outdoor learning space for environmental education. Stevens Creek Nature Center is the fourth nature center in the county joining Reedy Creek, Latta, and McDowell.
The nature preserve included interactive classrooms, a meeting space, and a visitor center with wildlife specimens and a live fish tank. The classrooms featured large, glass doors that opened to allow the natural elements to blend in with the learning environment. Aesthetic elements included rain chains, a bio retention pond for stormwater mitigation, a living wall, and an artists’ path. Materials included timber decking, natural concrete and siding, stones and boulders incorporated throughout, and a new pedestrian bridge over the creek.