The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center can move forward with its latest project of constructing two previously announced additions, the Mineta-Simpson Institute and the LaDonna Zall Research …
The Heart Mountain Interpretive Center can move forward with its latest project of constructing two previously announced additions, the Mineta-Simpson Institute and the LaDonna Zall Research Lab.
Park County Commissioners on Tuesday reviewed and approved a special use permit, with site plan review, to construct an addition to the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation Interpretive Center.
All planned structures will be single-story buildings.
The institute will be located southwest of the existing center and will consist of a lecture room, kitchen, bathroom, artifact display hall, and related storage and mechanical spaces, according to the site plan documents. The institute will add 5,120 sq. ft. of floor space to the center.
The leadership of the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation states the Mineta-Simpson Institute will be a dedicated retreat space and a home for workshops and programming designed for future leaders. It will also expand the foundation’s capacity for digital outreach.
“It’s a physical building that we are constructing, but it’s much more than that,” interim executive director Aura Newlin said at an August groundbreaking ceremony for the new building. “It’s the expansion of our ability to reach a national and international audience with the story of our past here, but also the dynamism of our present and the vision that we have for the future.”
The lab will be located northeast of the existing center and will include offices, storage areas, and curatorial spaces. According to the site plan, one section will add 1,800 sq. ft. of floor space; a proposed second addition will add 2,400 sq. ft. of floor space. The lab will be a dedicated space where researchers can work with both archival documents and an expansive library of materials about the incarceration.
A Special Use Permit for the Heart Mountain Interpretive Learning Center was approved by the board of county commissioners in 2008 for the Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation and the 11,000 sq. ft. public tour center. (The existing center has floor area of approximately 6,000 sq. ft.)
Additional infrastructure included a road, sidewalks, a parking area, and landscaping. The purpose of the project was the creation and operation of an interpretive learning center; telling the story of the incarceration of Japanese Americans at this location in Park County during World War II.
The current staff is a mixture of 13 full-time and part-time staff, which is anticipated after addition is complete to rise to 20.
The total occupancy of all buildings combined is currently 488. The Mineta-Simpson addition will add an additional 295 occupants, and the Ladonna Zall addition will add 109 for a new occupancy of 892.