Olbrich Botanical Gardens plans for $10 million expansion project

Olbrich Botanical Gardens plans for $10 million expansion project

After years of discussion, Olbrich Botanical Gardens is planning for a $10 million expansion project that will include new classrooms, office space and an upgraded greenhouse.

The classrooms can be divided into three sections or be used as one large room depending on what’s needed to better serve elementary-aged students.

Roberta Sladky, director of Olbrich Botanical Gardens, said the new 8,500 square-foot expansion project will allow them to offer more educational programs for students, and those classes wouldn’t be limited to weekdays.

“It will provide opportunities to provide some of these programs on weekends because currently, adult events, rentals, cocktail parties, memorial services take some priority on weekend days,” Sladky said.

Sladky said the current space being used for classes was not originally designed for kids.

“It doesn’t have sinks for kids to wash their hands. You know, it was designed as a beautiful space for flower shows, ceremonies and events,” Sladky said.

The 2018 capital budget, which won’t be approved until November, is expected to include $5 million in funding for the project.

The rest of funding will come from the Olbrich Botanical Society which has already raised $4.6 million.

The design development plan will be complete in early 2018.

Construction will begin in the fall of 2018 and wrap up in September 2019.

Architectures from a Minneapolis-based firm will present their design plan to the public on Wednesday.