Wickiup Hill expansion nears completion with internet upgrade

Looks like Schoon Construction will extend fiber-optic cable to Linn County's Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center.

The Grinnell company was the lower of two bidders for the work, part of a $3.6 million expansion at the center near Toddville.

Schoon's apparent winning bid - it won't be official until the county supervisors' formal session Wednesday - is $207,305. Price Industrial of Hiawatha bid $259,038.

The new cable will provide a high-speed internet connection between Wickiup Hill and area schools, allowing staff to work with students and teachers before and after their field trips to the facility.

The project nearly doubles the size of the original 10,000-square-foot 2002 building, adding space for classes, meetings, and a library, more exhibits, and a second set of restrooms. The expansion will also Linn County Conservation to move its offices from a building near the Abbe Center for Community Care near Marion.

The project landed an $850,000 Vision Iowa grant.

Linn County Conservation Director Dan Biechler said the project is on track for completion by the end of October.


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