It's cold in Utah, but that hasn't slowed work on the new Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument, as the accompanying images show.
The top image shows the steel framing that's been put in place for the ramp inside the Quarry Exhibit Hall that will lead from the mezzanine to the main exhibit hall. The lower image is an artist's rendering of what it should look like when complete.
A new visitor center was needed due to stability problems with the old visitor center, which was designed around a hillside studded with fossilized dinosaur remains. That facility was shut down in 2006 due to structural problems that left "portions of the building’s foundation twisted" and prone to movement, according to Superintendent Mary Risser.
Once the old structure was removed, construction began on the new one, which is being built in the same location, so you'll still enjoy great views of the hillside.
Just last week crews installed the exterior doors at the entrance to the visitor center, as well as the interior doors leading from the vestibule into the exhibit area. Park officials also say several skylights, which will bring more daylight into the visitor center and reduce the need for artificial lighting, were roughed in this past week.
Work also is continuing on the roof as well as on the facility's plumbing, electrical, and HVAC installation and on pipe insulation.
While construction continues, the only place to see dinosaur bones in the park is the Fossil Discovery Trail. This trail is scheduled to reopen to the public in April via ranger-guided tours. Park officials say along this walk you can see dinosaur bones naturally exposed in a cliff wall. Everyone is welcome to reach out and touch the bones here. However, because access to this trail requires traveling through the construction zone visitors must follow a ranger to the trail in April and May, or take the shuttle bus to the trail after Memorial Day.
Later this fall -- some time between September and November -- the Quarry Exhibit Hall is scheduled to reopen after being closed for six years. Inside the building 1,500 dinosaur bones are exposed and prepped in the cliff face. The fossils inside this building are covered by a protective substructure and will not be visible until the construction project is completed.