CASPER, Wyo. — Last week, the early stages of work began on the construction of a new Nordic Lodge on Casper Mountain. The start of construction was the culmination of a process that began shortly after the previous lodge was condemned in February 2020 and demolished in November that same year.
The new lodge, Natrona County officials say, will boast several improvements over the previous one.
At more than 4,000 square feet, the new lodge — to be called the Casper Mountain Trails Center — will be larger than the previous lodge, which was roughly 2,000 square feet.
Along with the additional size, county parks director Michael Brown said it will feature several amenities.
“Bathrooms will now have three stalls each, where the bathrooms in the last lodge just had one,” he said. “There’s a great room area that can be rented out [and] there’s a catering kitchen that people can utilize. … The goal is for it to be something that everyone on the mountain can use.”
The facility, which will be a pre-engineered metal building, has been designed by Amundsen Associates to be energy efficient, Brown said.
“It’s going to be a very well-insulated building,” he said.
Last week, crews began the process of expanding the parking lot. When completed, Brown said the parking lot in front of the new trails center will be roughly double in size. The parking lot has been temporarily closed to the public, but Brown said it will reopen in time for the winter season.
During Tuesday’s Natrona County Board of Commissioners meeting, Commissioner Dave North addressed concerns over the work.
“There’s been a lot of comments about, ‘Why are you cutting trees?'” North said. “Well, we need to cut trees to make room for the new parking lot and new building. Yes, we all like trees because they’re an endangered species here in Wyoming, but sometimes you have to make room for improvements.”
Brown said the parking lot should be reopened in October.
“They’re removing the trees and the stumps, and then they’ll demolish the foundation of the old building,” he said. “Then they’ll bring in the materials for the geo-tech of the new foundation area.”
Work on the lodge itself, which is being done by Caspar Building Systems Inc., won’t begin until spring 2024, Brown said. At a prior Board of Commissioners meeting, Caspar Building Systems representative Wes Hayden estimated that, should construction begin on schedule, the lodge will be completed in early 2025.