After a eight long months the Volunteer Park Conservatory Restoration and Capital Improvement Project is in the final stretch! Barring unforeseen issues, construction will be completed with several days to spare before the Gala Reopening Celebration on December 6th, 2014.
Glazing on the Seasonal House is complete and the gardeners have already added soil to the planter benches and started replacing plant from the collection. Senior Gardener David Helgeson and his crew will soon start to assemble the Conservatory Holiday Express train track, which is always a hit with kids of all ages.
The finishing touches are being put in place in the Cactus House including a brand-new outward-opening exit door. A matching fixture will be added to the Bromeliad House as well. New electronic vent actuators will be installed throughout the Conservatory, replacing the somewhat temperamental pneumatic actuators in current use.
Meanwhile, the all-new 1,500 square foot mixed-use greenhouse is looking stunning. The new facility features several improvements over the older west wing including wall-mounted radiators allowing much greater use of floor space. A new QCom environmental system is being installed, which will not only regulate temperature in the new houses, but provide accurate tracking and reporting of data in the two zones. The new system will control the vents, heating, and shade clothes to regulate temperatures throughout the year based on the weather. There are a number of exquisite architectural details which demonstrate the care and attention which went into this project, and we are excited to share them at the Gala and in subsequent activities.
The FOC is eagerly anticipating using the new space in the new year. The Education Committee has identified over 50 classes for 2015, many of which will take advantage of the new space as a classroom. .
Even the Palm House Gift Shop is looking refreshed thanks to and FOC board member and superstar volunteer Dave Blythe who painted the walls and fixtures a cheery coat of paint. Shoppers will be treated to a much brighter shop thanks to a smart new palette of colors designed to compliment the merchandise while respecting the heritage of the Conservatory.
The next few weeks are going to be intense for both construction crews and our gardeners, but rest assured, everything will come together, and we will truly have cause for celebration!
And don’t forget: even though the Conservatory’s doors are still closed for a few weeks, the FOC is still hard at work behind the scenes. If you receive a renewal notice please be sure to mail it back to us to help keep us moving!