JOSEPH chosen to build Smokies Oconaluftee Visitor Center

GATLINBURG (WATE) — JOSEPH Construction Company, of Knoxville, has been chosen to build the new Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, officials announced Tuesday.

The 7,000 square foot center will be just inside the park at the Cherokee, North Carolina entrance.

JOSEPH Construction was selected from four competitive bidders.

Construction of the facility will include:

A visitor orientation and information center
Cultural history exhibits
A store
Fully accessible restrooms
An after hours orientation and backcountry permit kiosk
The project is expected to begin in mid-February. Officials say it may take up to 12 months to complete.

The facility is being designed to earn a minimum of Silver-level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

It will incorporate such features as geothermal wells and a cistern that will collect rainfall run-off to flush toilets.

The visitor center and its exhibits are 100 percent partner-funded. The Great Smoky Mountains Association is providing $2.5 million for the facilities. The Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park is providing $500,000 for exhibit design and fabrication.

A number of area businesses are also involved, including Citizens National Bank of Sevierville, which is providing financing, and Trotter and Associates Architects of Gatlinburg.

Originally Published: Knoxville contractor chosen to build Smokies Oconaluftee Visitor Center