Olbrich Gardens Expansion - Project 1

Last Updated: 01/17/2018

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:

Our overall project schedule looks like this:

  • March 2017 through April 2018 Planning and Design

  • May 2018 through August 2018 Public Works Bidding and Contract Signing

  • Week of September 4, 2018 Ground Breaking and Begin Construction

  • September 2019 Construction Completion

Progress Updates:  Click here for our current Project Plans & Elevations

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:

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

Project History:

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.