Rep. Brian H. Seitz, R-Branson, recently attended the groundbreaking for the new construction project at the Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center. Work on the $6.7 million project is projected to take nearly two years and will result in an educational facility over two times larger than the existing building.
"This project is extremely important not just for the 156th District, but all of southwest Missouri and the entire state," Seitz said. "Hundreds of thousands of people visit the conservation center and fish hatchery every year, and this expansion will attract even more to come and take part in the educational offerings being presented. My family has been visiting the center for decades, and I even had the opportunity to take part in the spawning process last year. The benefit of this project will be felt for generations to come, and I'm excited to see the finished product."
According to a press release by the Missouri Department of Conservation, the conservation center building, which is part of the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery complex, was built in the late 1970s and was intended to be an unstaffed facility designed for passive visitation. These plans did not envision Branson becoming one of the country's major tourist destinations, and the influx of visitors every year necessitated the current expansion.