The new Hausmann Nature Center opened in June and has already been host to several park visitors and school groups interested in learning about area history, nature and the environment in Delafield.
The building was originally a privately owned 1960’s single-family home set on a wooded kettle and surrounded by the Kettle Moraine State Forest-Southern Unit near Lapham Peak State Park. The 8,000-square-foot building featured a rustic contemporary design of fieldstone, glass and timber on three levels. In 1984, owners Dr. Paul and Bernice Hausmann decided to donate the home to the state for reuse as a nature center, and the property was absorbed into the state park system.
The challenge was to renovate the one-of-a-kind structure into a usable nature center while maintaining the original design elements of the home. The home’s style was a good fit for an environmental center, and architect Mark Alan Kraft of Madison created the final blueprint for the successful rehabilitation project.
The project was bid out in October of 2010 and awarded to Joe Daniels Construction Co. Inc., Madison, for an amount near $1.3 million. The building features a complete makeover, and includes new mechanical and electrical, a geothermal energy system, new septic system and parking. Along with interpretive displays, offices and a gift shop, the center offers classroom space and community meeting space available for rent.
Although owned by the state of Wisconsin, a partnership has been formed with Milwaukee Public Schools and The Friends of Lapham Peak. The school system will use the facility for educational purposes, and will coordinate scheduling and use of the center for other groups.
The Friends of Lapham Peak will volunteer to staff the building on weekends for park visitors.
For more information, or to schedule an event, call 414-647-6050.
Keith Barber is a data reporter at The Daily Reporter. He can be reached by email at [email protected]