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Zoo pavilion construction comes to finish

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Work on a new pavilion at the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is nearing completion

City Engineer Kurt W. Hauk said the final major piece of work at the pavilion, placing a stone veneer on its columns, was finished Tuesday.

“It’s nice to get this one done,” Mr. Hauk said.

The city and zoo will work together through early next week finalizing small projects such as site cleaning and ground reseeding before the project is considered officially finished.

The pre-engineered, 50-by-50-foot pavilion cost about $260,000 to complete, Mr. Hauk said Thursday. The pavilion will be used for classes, presentations and private parties.

It has been about four years since the Thompson Park Conservancy, the group that runs the zoo, first proposed tearing down the zoo’s aviary. Before agreeing to move forward with the pavilion, the Watertown City Council considered multiple designs for the project.

Among the scrapped ideas was an indoor education area, which was ruled out because of its potential costs.

“It’s been a process for both the zoo and the city, but I think the outcome is tremendous for the zoo and our patrons,” said John T. Wright, the zoo’s executive director.

The city will name the pavilion in honor of the late Mayor Karl R. Burns.

Mr. Wright said he and his staff will use the next six months to figure out what kind of greenery it can place in the area surrounding the pavilion, and the programming it will put on in the new space.

“Now we can kind of see what kind of additives we can bring to that,” he said.

The main contractor for the project was D.E.W. Builders, Adams Center.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected to be held by the city to formally dedicate the new space.

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