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Orville star of zoo ceremony
12:55pm Wednesday 16th January 2013 in News
A RARE bird dropped by to help officially open Dudley Zoo’s new £200,000 office complex.
Fluffy green duck, Orville, alongside ventriloquist Keith Harris cut the ribbon to the new offices, which boast facilities for administration, finance, research and marketing staff, plus a conference room and archive department.
The zoo spent six months refurbishing the Tecton Safari Gift Shop and its listed 1960s extension, with staff relocating from the site’s former offices on The Broadway.
The project, which has been funded entirely from the attraction’s own coffers, also offers direct access to the Safari Gift Shop and to the lower part of the zoo.
Chief executive, Peter Suddock said: “It was an interesting project as we had to strip back layers from the past three decades, during which time the buildings had a variety of uses, but it was fairly straightforward and we managed to bring it in on both cost and time.
“We have remained as authentic as is practically possible to the original design of the building, with external rendering to keep it in context with the rest of the Tecton range, but used modern technologies internally including a low energy air source heating system and advanced IT.”
During the visit, staff also presented the entertainer with an adoption pack for a rare Humboldt penguin, called Arkwright.
Mr Harris, said: “Orville will be chuffed to bits with this.
“They can both get together and talk about how neither of them can fly.”
During his visit Mr Harris also praised the work of the zoo staff.
He added: “Everyone is doing such a great job and the zoo is a great success story for Dudley.
“I’ve visited quite a few times while I’ve been in panto in Wolverhampton and it is such a lovely place and I’m glad it is doing so well.
“The staff here really do love their animals and it is great for children to see all these creatures, which they may not have chance to see otherwise.”
The opening of the office complex forms part of the zoo’s ongoing redevelopment programme.
Other projects scheduled for the coming year include the new entrance and car park, revealed in the News last week, as well as a £15,000 refurbishment of the Reptile House, a new walkway between Penguin Bay and the Reptile House and a makeover of the farm.
Restoration work on the iconic Tecton entrance and the Safari Shop will also start later in the year.