Officials with Parks Canada have released the design for the new visitor centre for Waterton Lakes, saying it will be a facility that welcomes guests to the park and provides them with great opportunities to learn about its history.

Planners say they are going ahead with the Town Plaza design for the building after a number of public consultation meetings, open houses and a careful review of all the options.

The Town Plaza design includes a main plaza, intended to become a central part of the community’s commercial district, and an outdoor theatre to serve as a gathering space for visitors and the community.

The design consists of three buildings; a main building, an admistration building and a public washroom, all under one roof with canopies attaching them.

Officials also say that the placement of the building will allow Parks Canada staff to connect directly with visitors, enhancing their experience in the area.

The design will also include a nature-based playground for families with young children. The existing playground and splash pad have been relocated to another area of the townsite.

The new visitor centre replaces the former facility that was destroyed in the Kenow wildfire in September 2017.

Parks Canada will now be finalizing the details of the design and completing an environmental assessment in winter 2018.

Construction is expected to commence in 2019 with an expected completion date of 2021.