Ellis Bird Farm has opened its new visitor’s centre.
Last week, delegates representing Ellis Bird Farm, its board, ME Global and the Alberta Government were present at the facility to cut the ribbon and declare the visitor’s centre officially open. Ken Wigmore, chair of the Ellis Bird Farm board, said this facility will improve Ellis Bird Farm’s ability to operate during poor weather conditions.
“Up until this point in time we haven’t had a building we can hold a function in during inclement weather,” said Wigmore. He added while Ellis Bird Farm has shut down during the winter in the past because the majority of the birds migrate south, the building opens up possibilities of the farm operating year-round.
The 3,500 sq. ft. building will house more washrooms, a staff room, a gift store and enough room to hold 100 people seated.
Wigmore said he hopes the facility will be utilized by more than just Ellis Bird Farm staff and patrons as well and he believes ME Global staff intend to use the meeting space also.
It only took 12 weeks to construct the facility, something Wigmore said was impressive. “Most of the time, you can’t build a garage in 12 weeks.”
Initial plans for the project began five years ago.
Last year, construction began to move ahead when Ellis Bird Farm secured $450,000 in sponsorship from ME Global in August to fund the project.
In addition to the majority of funding from ME Global, Ellis Bird Farm also received donations in the form of in-kind services.
While the bulk of the project was funded by ME Global, several smaller items, like the initial designs of the building, the construction of the road to the building and some of the finishing touches were donated in-kind.
“Every bit helps. It completes the project. If we’d have to pay all of that, it wouldn’t be the project it is today.”