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May 19, 2013 5:51 PM by Monica Gouty

Grand opening this week for new Mesa Verde visitor center

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) - Five months after a "soft" opening, the Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center in southwestern Colorado is set to hold its grand opening Thursday.

Collection curator Tara Travis tells The Durango Herald she hopes the new $16.5 million building will help people plan their trip to Mesa Verde National Park in the Four Corners region. The 23,620-square-foot building is divided into two sections: the 7,364-square-foot Visitor Center and the 16,256-square-foot Research Center.

The Visitor Center will feature interactive exhibits, an information desk, a store and a ticket office, while the Research Center will have designated spaces for a library, park archives and storage space for 3 million artifacts.

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