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Texas Zoo Begins Major Construction Project

Fri February 24, 2017 - West Edition
Brooke Crum - Abilene Reporter-News

A new Flamingo exhibit will be constructed near the entrance of the zoo.
A new Flamingo exhibit will be constructed near the entrance of the zoo.
A new Flamingo exhibit will be constructed near the entrance of the zoo. The jaguar exhibit will receive an extension and an off-exhibit breeding ground for rare big cats.

Throughout the year, visitors to the Abilene Zoo will see major construction projects in the works as the city moves forward with the 2015 bond issue.

The Abilene City Council on Feb. 23 approved a contract with the Crowe Group to complete the projects for $2.3 million. Construction should take an estimated 320 working days to finish, barring inclement weather.

The bond program includes five projects for the zoo, including a new African lesser flamingo exhibit that will greet visitors as they enter the zoo and a new giant anteater exhibit.

The $80.7 million bond program also provides funds for renovations and expansion of the jaguar facility, adding off-exhibit space for breeding and rearing the endangered cats. Additionally, it provides for a new bird rehabilitation facility with room for the birds to fly around as they recover.

Lastly, the fishing pier will be rehabilitated to provide access for guests with disabilities.

To save money, staff will develop and install the pool for the flamingo exhibit, which will represent a "significant savings," said Wayne Lisenbee, capital improvements director.

The bond issue provided $1.03 million for the projects, with private donors contributing $1.5 million. Part of the donations came from the Abilene Zoological Society, which contributed $76,000, and the Grover Nelson Foundation, which donated $117,182.

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