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BREC selects design firms to overhaul Baton Rouge Zoo, Greenwood Park

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BATON ROUGE - Three months after BREC announced it was seeking design firms to completely overhaul Greenwood Park, the commission has chosen two firms.

"The firms are going to work together to make sure it's a cohesive space. Although they have different areas of expertise, so that's why we needed to bring two firms in," BREC director of communications Cheryl Michelet explained.

Boston-based Sasaki associates will handle Greenwood Park, while Torre Design Consortium will work on improving the Baton Rouge Zoo.

"I'm ecstatic about both of the consultants," BREC Commissioner Davis Rhorer said . "They are the experts in zoo design."

Chances are, you probably know their work.

"They did about 75 master plans for zoos. It includes the Audubon Zoo and Mike the Tiger's exhibit," Michelet said.

The zoo needs a lot of work. Old exhibits need to be reconstructed along with millions in improvements to regain the zoo's national accreditation.

"That will all be done working with the community, elected officials, stakeholders, partners. They're going to ask them, what do you want to see? And then they're going to make their designs around that," Michelet said.

Right now, BREC will be forking over about $750,000 just to get the master plans drawn up. Funding for actual construction will have to come from a mix of private donors and grants.

"Like the superintendent said, we're going to leave [no] stone unturned before we have to ask the taxpayers for anything."


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