Friday, September 18, 2015
When the Lloyd A. Stage Outdoor Education Center opened in 1970, the staff offices were in a tri-level house that was connected to a small cottage via a hallway. The original building lacked an exhibit area, had tiny work areas and no air conditioning. Over the next thirty years annual visitation to the 100-acre nature center grew from 5,000 to 23,000 people. The staff also grew to three full-time and three part-time employees plus guest instructors and an active volunteer corps. Demand had simply exceeded the capacity of the old “homey” building.
In 2000 the City of Troy began construction on a new nature center building. Construction was financed through a $466,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, $634,000 from the City’s Capital Budget, and a $5,000 grant from Wal-Mart, which funded trail improvements. Ehresman & Associates were retained as the project architects. Their design was esthetically pleasing and very functional. The 8,183 square foot building includes two large classroom areas, a library, exhibit area, gift shop space, wildlife viewing area, offices, and a large storage area.
The new building was opened to the public in February 25, 2002. At the ribbon cutting ceremony Marion Stage, widow of Lloyd A. Stage, (see April 29 365 Story) remarked, “He fought real hard to keep this a nature center. I think it’s beautiful; it’s just beautiful. I’m sure he’s looking down on it.”
Shortly after the dedication, the old house facility was demolished. Nine years later operational management of the Stage Nature Center (the name was officially shortened this year) was transferred to the Troy Nature Society. They continue to offer educational programs for students, families and adults. The trails are open seven days a week and the building is open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 3 pm and on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Program information can be found at troynaturesociety.org.
The Nature Center building
“Nature Center Teaches Environmental Classes”, Troy Eccentric, February 18, 2001
“Nature takes center stage”, Daily Tribune, February 26, 2002
“New nature Center to open soon”, Troy Times, January 10, 2002
“Nature’s course: New building makes debut”, Troy Eccentric, February 28, 2002
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.