Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin is set to embark on a $10 million expansion project in response to record visitor numbers.
Occupying 16 acres, Olbrich welcomed 300,396 visitors last year and has outgrown its facilities.
The plans include a two-storey Learning Centre which will enable the delivery of more educational programmes. The facility will include outside learning space as well as dedicated space for staff and class-preparation activities. There will also be a garden observation deck.
The Gardens are also looking to improve efficiency with regard to plant propagation. The current greenhouse is understood to be old and inefficient.
The intention is to demolish the existing greenhouse and build a more energy-efficient replacement to allow Olbrich to produce more plants for its gardens. The new facility will also provide better growing space for its extensive orchid collection, as well as a much more pleasant work environment for staff and volunteers.
The $10 million cost of the expansion will be met by the city and the Olbrich Botanical Society.
Having reviewed an existing masterplan, architects Meyer, Scherer, Rockcastle Ltd. are also recommending a further $13 million in future projects. These include spaces for the library collection and a plant show pavilion.
Olbrich’s last major construction project took place in the 1990s which saw the opening of the Bolz Conservatory and visitors’ centre. Since then, visitor numbers have more than doubled.