Red panda exhibit proposals sought for WNC Nature Center


The city of Asheville is looking for someone to design and build a new home for a red panda family at the WNC Nature Center.

The Nature Center wants to add a red panda exhibit and breeding facility by October 2018, and a design-build process will help it meet that deadline, according to the request for qualifications. The addition of red pandas, as well as a number of other animal exhibits, is part of the Nature Center’s 2020 Vision plan for growth.

The Friends of the Nature Center will donate funds to support all costs associated with the design and construction, and pledges to donate $5,000 per year for 10 years to support operations costs, according to the RFQ. The new exhibit will be placed next to a free-standing breeding building.

Red pandas are thought to be native to the Southern Appalachian mountains. The WNC Nature Center, which sees more than 100,000 visitors a year, with attendance growing each year, and is subsidized in part with taxpayer money. It is home to about 60 species and features a restaurant, a gift shop and an historic barn.

In 2015, the WNC Nature Center received a $313,000 grant to upgrade its entrance. That will allow the center to make other improvements, including the addition of parking and the development of a permanent butterfly exhibit.

More details on the red panda exhibit RFQ timeline:

-The complete red panda RFQ can be obtained from the City of Asheville website here. A hard-copy can be requested at the General Services Department, 70 Court Plaza, Asheville, NC 28801, Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. A mandatory​ ​pre-submittal​ ​conference​ will be held at 2 pm​ Thursday,​ Sept. 28 ​ ​at the WNC Nature Center, 75 Gashes Creek Road.

-All inquiries and questions about this RFQ must be submitted in writing by email to Walter Ear at the following address:

-Sealed​ ​proposals​ ​are​ ​due​ ​no later than ​2​ ​p.m.​ ​on​ ​Wednesday,​ ​Oct. ​11.