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Ground broken for new Saltese Flats environmental education center in Spokane County

Doug Nadvornick/Spokane Public Radio
The architect's rendering of the Doris Morrison Learning Center

The center will be named after Doris Morrison, the mother of the most recent owner of the adjacent land.

Spokane County officials broke ground today [Friday] for a new environmental education center that will sit at the foot of Mica Peak in Spokane Valley.

The Doris Morrison Learning Center will have a stunning view of Saltese Flats. That’s the wetland created by the runoff from the adjacent mountain. Today, ducks and other wildlife use it as their home.

In the late 1800s the Morrison family, which owned much of the land in the area, drained the lake so it could turn it into a farm. About 15 years ago, the county bought the land to convert it back to a natural area.

As a condition of the sale, the owner, Bud Morrison, asked the county to build an education center to teach the public about Saltese Flats and name it after his mother. Morrison’s cousin, Dan Olson, says Doris Morrison was a teacher and passionate about education.

“Visitors will come here to the wetlands and look at creation that surrounds us. But they will not only see the physical world, but they will have a spiritual experience," he said.

The center will sit on land donated by the Central Valley School District, which at one time planned to build a school there.

Construction has begun on the new building. County Commissioner Mary Kuney hopes it will be ready for an Earth Day christening next year.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.