Valle Crucis Community Park’s New Welcome Center Brings Workshops and Opportunities

Published Monday, June 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm
Valle Crucis Community Park Welcome Center

Valle Crucis Community Park Welcome Center

By Angela Gazzillo

A new welcome center at the Valle Crucis Community Park housed guests Thursday evening, June 16, for a celebration of its grand opening equip with food, refreshments and an official ribbon cutting ceremony.

The welcome center, which has been open since February, has been an inviting and educational addition to the park, which has been serving the community since 1983.

The new building welcomed donors and those involved with the construction of the building on Thursday evening as a way for everyone to tour and celebrate the facility. The evening consisted of educational and fitness instructors leading programs and information about the center, followed by a formal ribbon cutting.

Caroline Gandy, the park’s executive director, said the welcome center allows space to do environmental work, something very significant to the park, as well as give folks behind the nonprofit park a presence on the grounds.

“We’ve been open for over 35 years without any type of facility, which led to a whole lot of people using it without evening knowing it’s a private park,” Gandy said. “It gives us a chance to tell our story, which is hugely important to us.”

The center is divided into two parts, one being a reception and office space, and the other a classroom space for various community events and activities; but aside from the facility’s interior layout, the space serves several important purposes for the park.

Though the park has been open for nearly four decades, few people know it’s history, or that the park itself is funded almost entirely by private donors.

The park was first approached in summer of 2014 by the Appalachian State’s Building Science program. The program developed an “integrative design curriculum” titled IDEXlab: Integrative Design Experience Laboratory, which helps students to get real-world design experience their senior year through project-based student learning.

Through the program, four architecture and four construction management students from ASU worked on the project during the 2014/2015 school year under contractor Chase Ambler of Headwaters Enterprises.

The park created a capital campaign goal in 2015, which was to raise $260,000 to fund the welcome center and the recent purchase of 3.3 acres that was added to the park. So far, they have raised $237,500 through grant funding and private donors, leaving only $22,500 left until they reach their goal.

Gandy said the fundraising so far has been a huge accomplishment for the park, and they hope the new opening will help the nonprofit raise the remaining amount very soon.

Several workshops will be held at the welcome center in July, as well as weekly yoga classes and a fly fishing seminar in the fall. Check out all of the exciting workshops and events coming up at or call 828-963-9239 for more information.

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