by Gregory Ripps, Wilson County News

A World Heritage Center will be constructed to serve San Antonio’s five Spanish missions and Rancho de las Cabras near Floresville.

According to San Antonio World Heritage Office Director Colleen Swain, the new center will serve as an orientation center for visitors to the sites, as well as a place to provide information on the history, art, and culture of their surrounding communities.

A map and artist’s renderings of the future center were displayed April 23 at the Mission Branch San Antonio Public Library on Roosevelt Avenue near Mission San José.

Plans call for the 10,077-square-foot center to include a 5,672-square-foot interior and a 4,405-square-foot outdoor veranda to be located just north of the library.

Funding for the project comes from a San Antonio 2017-22 bond.

“We anticipate breaking ground on the center in the fall, with completion of phase 1 in 2023,” Swain told the Wilson County News.

The historical locations to be served by the center are part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, which received World Heritage designation in 2015 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Area ranching operations provided food for mission residents in the 1700s, but Rancho de las Cabras is the only ranch where ruins of a ranch compound have been identified as such. The Rancho raised cattle and goats for Mission Espada, the southernmost of the missions.

“We are happy to share information about opportunities for tours at Rancho de las Cabras through the National Park Service with any visitors,” Swain said….

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