Olbrich Gardens Expansion - Project 1

Last Updated: 06/01/2018

UPDATE: June 01, 2018


1st Advertisement of Bid: June 01, 2018 Documents available on Bid Express
Bid Due: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
Construction Start: Sept. 10, 2018
Expected Completion: Sept. 2019

Pre-Bid Contractors Meeting: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 or June 27, 2018 @ Olbrich Botancial Gardens, 3330 Atwood Ave. Madison WI  Please see Bid Express for additional information.
SBE Pre-Bid Meeting: June 22, 2018 or July 06, 2018 1:00 pm at 1600 Emil St., Madison, WI
"All information regarding dates/times/locations are informational and should be verified with official bidding documents posted on Bid Express."

Project Description:

Project 1 will provide two new elements to the Existing Olbrich Botanical Gardens (OBG) Campus:

  • The first element will be a new Learning Center to provide dedicated space for a variety of early childhood through adult educational programs offered at OBG. The Learning Center will consist of a large open space that can also be sub-divided into two or three classrooms as needed for programming flexibility. In addition, there will be an outside classroom for programming that can get a little messy; staff will have dedicated office space on the second floor.

  • The second element will replace the existing antiquated production greenhouses. The original greenhouses constructed in 1992 have reached their life expectancy and were of a European design that can no longer be supported with replacement materials and equipment.


Aerial Perspective View of the Learning Center


Project Objectives:

The architects, consultants, and city staff will have three primary objectives during the design process:

Project Schedule:

  • 1st Advertisement of Bid: June 01, 2018 Documents available on Bid Express
  • Bid Due: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 2:00 pm
  • Construction Start: Sept. 10, 2018
  • Expected Completion: Sept. 2019

Progress Updates:  Click here to view our Project Presentation

May 14, 2018:  Q2 2018 Progress Update: MSR is wrapping up the construction documents phase in preparation of going out for bid on June 1.
  1. Several issues have come up in the last few months that have caused us to expand the scope and budget of the overall project: 

  • Poor soil conditions will be handled with an alternate style foundation construction.
  • To meet current Fire Code the entire complex (except for the Conservatory and Greenhouse) will be completely fire sprinklered.

  • We will be constructing a 60,000-gallon cistern (giant rain barrel) to recycle roof runoff to help meet our Storm Water Management requirements.

  • A significant amount of the public paths and terrace will be relocated to accommodate the Learning Center as well as the construction equipment. New terraces and paths will be installed to replace them.

April 04, 2018:  Q1 2018 Progress Update: MSR is halfway through the final design phase – Construction Documents (CDs). In this phase MSR is developing the plans and specifications to a level that will be used for the bidding documents. Currently Olbrich and other City Staff are reviewing the plans and specifications in preparation for the final push in May to complete the bid documents. We are currently still on schedule.  See above Project Schedule for dates.

January 10, 2018: Details of the project are taking shape. Learning Center and Greenhouse floor plans, finishes, and interior details are taking shape. Modifications to the existing gardens are being designed where this project will be displacing existing paths and planting exhibits. Life Safety code issues are being addressed in regards to fire truck access, and sprinkler upgrades. The PV solar panel system is a go and will be funded through the City of Madison Sustainability Improvements Budget. We are also looking into capturing storm water from our roofs to be reused for irrigation in the Conservatory to reduce the amount of city tap water that needs to be conditioned before watering the tropical plants.

September 2017: MSR has completed the Schematic Design phase. Massing concepts of the Learning Center have been significantly refined into a preferred floor plan. Classroom spaces will be on the first floor with staff spaces on the second floor. Exterior elevations have been provided and rendered with proposed materials labeled.

June 2017: MSR has completed the Pre-Design phase. This phase included reviewing the existing 2013 Master plan, making recommendations for adjustments to the Master Plan, and identifying future expansion and remodeling projects for Olbrich Botanical Gardens. General siting of the Learning Center and relocation of the Greenhouses were completed. Massing diagrams were reviewed for the proposed floor plan as well as proposed exterior elevations.

March 2017: Entered into a design contract with Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, Ltd. (MSR Design) of Minneapolis, MN. Principal Architect in charge is Traci Lesneski, Design Architect is Thomas Meyer, Project Architect is Stephen Bellairs, and Chris Wingate is Project & Sustainability Designer.

Olbrich Gardens Expansion in the News:

Spring 2018: Olbrich Garden News
Olbrich's Expansion Project-An Interview with Project Manager Randy Wiesner

Winter 2018: Olbrich Garden News
Ask the Architects

October 16, 2017: Wisconsin State Journal
Olbrich Botanical Gardens preparing for $10 million expansion

Project History:

May 15, 2018  File #51436
Amending the Capital Budget for this project
May 01, 2018 File #50924
Authorizing the Mayor and City Cleark to execute an amendment to the MSR Design contract.

March 07, 2017  File #45810
Authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk to enter into an agreement with Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd. to provide professional architectural/engineering design services and construction administration services.