KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Phase one of renovations to the Nature Center at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium has begun, the city of Kingsport announced on Thursday.

Renovations to the Nature Center include expanding the footprint of the gift shop, updating employee offices, replacing carpet with vinyl flooring and creating a new entrance to the planetarium.

“The new entrance to the planetarium will be like walking through a portal. It’ll definitely be eye-catching, and we’re excited to see the public’s reaction,” Park Director Megan Krager said.

Construction costs for phase one are around $650,000, according to the park, and are expected to be complete by February 2024.

“Not only are we renovating to update the aesthetics of the nature center, but we’re also putting in new exhibits,” Krager said.  “It’s been a long time coming and we believe the public will be thrilled with the changes.”

The future renovations will focus on the ramp and downstairs of the center.

Although the planetarium is closed due to construction, visitors can still access the ramp and lower level of the nature center.

For more information about Bays Mountain, click here.