The Raptor Center at Quest is back on track

While the final touches go into the Quest building with an expected launch in the Spring (COVID willing) the team at Carolina Raptor Center has turned our focus to the new Raptor Center at Quest. The Trail is graded and gravel is down. The ground is prepared for the new Resident Bird Care facility and the swale is built for the 200 seat Duke Energy Amphitheater. Very soon construction on enclosures for the ambassador birds will begin.

It’s hard to believe everything that has happened in the last 5 years since this project began. We have learned so much about construction, zoning, permitting, raising funds, and more. Our Resident Bird Care team has designed secure enclosures based on the experience gained from the last 40 years, and we are excited to look towards a time when we will have our feathered ambassadors in updated, safe new homes. Every square inch of the Quest facility and the Raptor Trail has been meticulously planned.

Something else we learned through this process is that plans you make change A LOT in the course of 5 years, especially in a construction project this robust. We have been often reminded of the 1986 Tom Hanks movie, “The Money Pit” which is a hilarious story of one couple’s trials while renovating an old home. Much like that movie, we have experienced construction delays, budgeting issues, and zoning challenges we did not anticipate 5 years ago. Material costs have sky-rocketed, construction labor is now more expensive to match the demands on the industry at present, and we don’t even want to talk about the very expensive, unplanned storm water retention ponds required by zoning.

We have value-engineered as much as we can, and we have been enormously blessed by generous construction partners such as Barringer Construction, Neighboring Concepts, and Vulcan Materials, but we are still financially short of bringing the Raptor Trail project across the finish line. Even as COVID-19 restrictions place financial challenges on our regular daily operations, we also need to appeal to the community to support our efforts in building the new Raptor Trail.

It should be terrifying- launching a capital campaign in the middle of a global pandemic is sheer lunacy. HOWEVER, we are not worried. We know that when you see what is happening at Quest, and see the new Raptor Trail, even in its infancy right now, you will want to support it. You will want this in your community. You will want to be part of this new chapter for both Carolina Raptor Center and Latta Nature Preserve.

And when we open the Trail in 2021, you will want to see one of the first Wings of Wonder shows in the new Duke Energy Amphitheater, while sipping a glass of North Carolina wine or a locally produced quality craft brew. You’re going to want your name permanently installed at this Raptor Trail. You’re going to be proud to point it out and say, “There it is. I was there from the start.”

It’s a new day at Carolina Raptor Center. Join us for an open house on October 17th, 31st, or November 14th and be prepared to be amazed! Make My Reservations.