AU's Southeastern Raptor Center gets new visitor friendly walkway

Under the watchful eye of 26 birds of prey, Auburn University students and construction professionals installed a new walkway Friday in order for the Southeastern Raptor Center to be a safer place to visit.

"When the facility was first constructed, big white gravel rocks were installed on the walkway, but we soon realized that those weren't exactly what we needed," explains Marianne Hudson of the Southeastern Raptor Center.

The Southeastern Raptor Center, a division of the College of Veterinary Medicine at AU, has treated and released thousands of birds of prey back into the wild since the 1970s and is home to the football game flying eagles Nova and Spirit.

Throughout the years, the original walkway would cause mobility problems for people, including the disabled, the elderly and families with strollers.

"Mothers with groups would bring strollers with their children and have a lot of trouble getting by on our rocks. We've had issues with wheelchairs getting by on our rocks and on one incident we even had a motorized scooter get stuck on our rocks," says Hudson.

The Center gives over 300 presentations and receives tens of thousands of visitors each year.

When they wanted to improve their facility, they enlisted the help of students in the McWhorter School of Building Science who took the project on as a class assignment and laid 300 linear feet of pervious concrete.

"It actually allows water to pass through the concrete and it doesn't puddle up and it allows natural runoff," explains Andrew Hopkins of the Southeastern Raptor Center, "So this special concrete will not only allow the elderly and the handicap to be able to go easily on it, but it will also keep it eco-friendly out here."

Copyright 2013 WTVM. All rights reserved.