Rifle Camp Park Observatory To Be Torn Down To Make Way For New Educational Center

Rifle Camp Park Observatory To Be Torn Down To Make Way For New Educational Center

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Passaic County is partnering with Passaic County Community College to build a new environmental center at Reffle Camp Park in Woodland Park. J. Crowley Astronomical and Natural Observatory.

The observatory will be demolished to make way for a new $5.2 million education center and observatory, Passaic County and university commissioners announced Tuesday.

This includes installing two new classrooms for about 400 students at Passaic County College, college President Steven Rose said. The new center will serve as a showcase for education about alternative energy sources, including solar, geothermal and heat exchangers.

John Crowley Nature Center and Observatory in Rifle Camp Park © Pacific County Parks and Recreation John Crawley Nature Center and Astronomical Observatory in Rifle Camp Park

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"We can have a little windmill," Rose said. "Of course we will use this place, we are very happy and we hope that will happen next year."

Much of the money to replace the current center, which opened in 1982, comes from the state education fund.

When completed, the Environmental Center at Rifle Camp Park will serve as classrooms and laboratories for County College and individual county and college staff for environmental and astronomy programs, a community meeting place and offices. The new center will manage the university.

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The center offers unobstructed views of Manhattan and is located on the historic site where Washington and his troops pursued British forces during the Revolutionary War.

Unlike many county parks, the observatory will be open to the public at night, county commissioners said.

Once completed, elementary and middle schools could use the site as a learning field trip site, district officials said.

H&S Construction of Elizabeth has been awarded the contract and the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com. Rifle Camp Park observatory to make way for new education center

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