Springfield, MO

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Work starting on $7M Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center project

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The Missouri Department of Conservation is ready to go on a $6.7 million project in Branson.

The MDC's Shepherd of the Hills Conservation Center, which serves as a visitors center for the Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery, is expanding, according to a news release. To do so, the MDC is closing the conservation center for nearly two years starting March 12 as work is conducted by general contractor Branco Enterprises Inc.

The new educational facility is designed to be 2.5 times larger than the current building at 483 Hatchery Road in Branson.

"The current facility was never designed to handle the volume of visitors we have each year," MDC Southwest Region Education Branch Supervisor Warren Rose said in the release. "This new facility will allow us to better serve the citizens of Missouri as well as showcase the wonderful fish, forest and wildlife resources Missouri has to visitors from across the nation.”

While it will continue to produce trout during the construction work, the hatchery will be closed to the public until project completion.

Some 250,000 people visit the conservation center annually, according to the release. Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery began operations at the west end of Lake Taneycomo in 1958, and the conservation center was built in the late 1970s.

“We realize that, for the next two years, the public may be disappointed when they are unable to visit the center or see the trout at the hatchery,” Rose said in the release. “So, we are asking for everyone’s patience, and we want them to know the wait will be worth it. The payoff will be when the new facility opens.

"It is going to offer so much more and be another jewel that can spread the message of conservation.”


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