Renovations underway at Natchez Visitor Center

Published 2:03 pm Monday, February 27, 2023

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Natchez National Historical Park has launched a major project to replace the entire HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system in the 25-year-old Natchez Visitor Center, which was donated to the National Park Service by the City of Natchez in 2020. The entire project is expected to take just over one year for completion.

“The National Park Service is committed to upgrading the Natchez Visitor Center for the 21st Century; unfortunately a lot of this important initial work – like roof rehabilitation & HVAC replacement – is “behind the scenes,” said park superintendent Kathleen Bond. “But we are also working on more fun projects: a lobby redesign, a new film, and new exhibits. A major transition like this just takes time.”

The work will be phased, beginning with the two-story office wing, then proceeding to the public use/ lobby wing.  Phase I, the two-story administrative wing, is slated for February through June 2023 (upstairs) and June through August 2023 (downstairs). Actual construction time may vary. Contractors began mobilization the week of February 20, 2023, using the small staff parking lot and the southeast portion of the public parking area for project staging.

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NPS administrative staff will work remotely for the duration of this phase but remain reachable via cell phones and email. Normal public use of the facility should not be impacted during this phase.

Phase II, work in the public spaces and lobby area, is currently slated to begin in September 2023.  Updates and information related to the expected impact on daily operations will be provided as the transition date approaches.

The existing HVAC system in the facility has exceeded its life expectancy and has been experiencing frequent failings for the past few years. The new system will be zoned to allow for greater energy efficiency and better climate control of the various spaces.  Ceilings will be removed so that all ductwork can be replaced as part of the new system installation.  This will increase comfort and eliminate any safety risk from mildew or mold in the old ductwork.