News Opinion Sports Videos Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Events Search/Archive Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Calendar Contact Us Advertisements Search/Archive Public Notices

Little Ponderosa unveils plans for the future

After a devastating fire last December, plans to rebuild the Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue started quickly since the surviving animals and new rescues would need a permanent home.

Knoxville-based Johnson Architecture volunteered to donate its time to design a new structure for the nonprofit organization.

“Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue is such a valuable part of our community, and we wanted to give back in their time of need and thank them for all that they do to provide a loving home for rescue animals,” said Daryl Johnson, president of Johnson Architecture.

The new design recently was revealed to the organization’s donors, sponsors and supporters.

The facility, which will be built on the foundation of the former structure in Clinton, Tennessee, will feature 5,600 square feet of interior space; a 1,700-square-foot mezzanine; front and rear porches; and 4,200 square feet of open-air, covered storage. It will include a bird aviary, reptile viewing area and eight stalls to house a variety of animals.

“A primary goal of this design was to improve the living space for the animals to provide safety and enrichment,” Johnson said.

“By providing top-notch facilities, Little Ponderosa Zoo will continue to give its animals a great quality of life. The new design also makes it easier for people to interact with the animals.”

Johnson Architecture has extensive experience designing animal handling facilities and exhibits, including projects at Zoo Knoxville, Chattanooga Zoo and Rowan Nature & Learning Center in Salisbury, N. C.

A wooden quilt square, commonly found in East Tennessee barn architecture, will hang above the back door on the facility’s exterior to memorialize the animals that perished in the fire.

The quilt square also will include the names of the animals.

“Johnson Architecture has been such an important partner in this project,” said James Cox, owner and director of Little Ponderosa Zoo and Rescue. “We could not do this without them and are so grateful for such a generous contribution. When Johnson Architecture suggested the wooden quilt square, we were all on board. It’s the perfect way to remind us that the spirit of those animals survives every day in all of the work that we do.”