A new education center in Onslow County is open after two decades in the works. 

The City of Jacksonville unveiled the Sturgeon City Environmental Education Center Wednesday morning. 

The 11,400 square foot facility includes classrooms for educational and lab uses. 

It is located at the former wastewater treatment site at 50 Court Street. 

The plant contributed to the pollution of the New River back in the 1970s and 80s. Then-Mayor George Jones created an initiative to restore the river. 

Scientists began their efforts to filter out the polluted water in 1998. 

“We began using oysters bivalves to clean the water, we also had to do some excoriation to improve the quality of the bottom of the river,” said Don Harring, chairman of Sturgeon City nonprofit. 

Harring said the site allows to tell the story of “environmental stewardship and environmental restoration.”

The facility will also be made available for rentals. Officials say the site can be an economic driver for the community.