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Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge Will Close February 1 to Undergo $6.2 Million Renovation

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For Immediate Release

(MENA, Ark.)--Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge that offers panoramic views from atop 2,681-foot Rich Mountain, Arkansas’s second highest peak, will close temporarily beginning February 1, 2012, to undergo a $6.2 million renovation, according to State Parks Director Greg Butts. The lodge will reopen in summer 2013. Butts said, “The improvements to the current lodge, a 38-room hostelry that was opened by the State of Arkansas in 1975, should receive rave reviews when it reopens.” He noted that the lodge will feature all new windows which will be much larger to frame the views from atop Rich Mountain. Butts emphasized, “Enjoying the view off the mountain is an important part of the Queen Wilhelmina State Park experience. Our visitors and overnight guests are going to enjoy the more wide open views from all the lodge’s public rooms, including the restaurant, and all the guest rooms.”

The exterior of the lodge will feature shingles and stonework. The lodge will expand from 26,335 square feet to 36,538 square feet to include the addition of a new hearth room with window walls and a wood-burning fireplace, two additional guest rooms increasing the total to 40, and more space within each guest room to accommodate two queen-size beds each. Four guest rooms on the west end of the first and second floors will include gas fireplaces and spa tubs in the bathrooms. Two standard guest rooms and one Queen’s Room will be barrier-free to meet the needs of visitors with disabilities.

The lobby and gift shop will be completed remodeled. The lobby will feature new finishes, a new registration desk, and a grand stairway to the second floor.

The upstairs meeting room will increase in size and include a balcony overlooking the south view from the mountain. Public restrooms will be located near this meeting room. An elevator will be added to the lodge for barrier-free access to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. More stairwells will also be added. A covered porch on the building’s south side will provide visitors with comfortable outdoor space for enjoying the views from the mountain. And, a new laundry for housekeeping staff and an additional porch will be added at the west end.

Other improvements will include modifications to the fire protection system, a new energy efficient HVAC system, energy efficient lighting throughout, water saving fixtures, and other energy saving features. Visitors can enjoy the lodge this winter before it closes on February 1. The lodge, including all guest rooms, meeting rooms and restaurant, will remain in operation through January.

Greg Butts noted that when the lodge closes on February 1 for the 18-month renovation to get underway, all other facilities at Queen Wilhelmina State Park including the park campground and trails will remain open. Park offices will be temporarily located near the entrance to the park campground.

The design consultant is Borne Firm Architects, P.A. of Little Rock. The contractor has yet to be determined. The project is being funded by Amendment 75, Arkansas’s Conservation Fund ($6,057,382) and FY 2012 grant monies from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council ($220,000).

Queen Wilhelmina State Park is on Ark. 88 (the Talimena Scenic Drive) 13 miles west of Mena. It is one of the 52 state parks administered by the State Parks Division of the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism.

For additional information, contact: Stan Graves, manager of Planning and Development, Arkansas State Parks, 1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201. Phone: 501-682-1633. E-mail: stan.graves@arkansas.gov.