Construction has begun on the new Primate Building at the Utica Zoo.

Executive Director Andria Heath says it's the next phase of the zoo's overall "Dream Big" Master Plan, which was launched in 2016.

Heath says the building will bring a newly designed outdoor "Living Rainforest" for the zoo's White Handed Gibbons and Spider Monkeys.

The project will also provide significant upgrades and renovations to the interior, roof, and visitor and keeper areas.

The renovations also mark the first time since 1988 that the area of the Primate Building will be used as public exhibit space.

“The footprint we are unveiling today clearly describes the transition from “We Don’t like It Either”, our 2016 fundraising campaign to begin the construction project, to “The Excitement is Building!”, says Heath.  “The elements of design of the new exhibits, including the natural setting, overall size, materials utilized, visitor experience and viewing area are not only different from the methodology the Zoo was capable of utilizing in the past, but sets the expectation for exhibit design for the future of the Utica Zoo.”

The overall project is expected to cost over $3.1 million.

To learn more about the campaign and to donate, visit UticaZoo.org/donate.

Jim Rondenelli, WIBX