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Huntsville’s Botanical Garden starts work on new Guest Welcome Center

The 30,000-sf facility will feature three rental spaces of varying sizes.

February 25, 2016 |

The Guest Welcome Center at the Huntsville Botanical Garden in Alabama will include a Great Hall that could hold up to 350 guests. Image: Matheny Goldmon Architecture + Interiors.

The Huntsville (Ala.) Botanical Garden held a groundbreaking ceremony on January 20 for a $13 million, 30,000-sf Guest Welcome Center that, when completed next year, will be a second piece in the Garden’s five-point growth strategy.

Turner Construction, which provided preconstruction services, was tapped to build the Welcome Center. Turner has been a presence in Huntsville for more than 60 years, and its projects there include the Davidson Center for Space Exploration, and the Huntsville Public Library.

The Building Team on the Welcome Center includes Matheny Goldmon Architecture + Interiors (architect and designer), 4Site Incorporated, PEC Structural Engineering, and SSOE Group.

The 112-acre Huntsville Botanical Garden, which opened on May 21, 1988, receives an estimated 350,000 visitors annually. Its attractions include its butterfly house, Grand Railway, and Dogwood trail. The 4.6-acre site on which the Welcome Center is being built had previously been used for parking.

The Welcome Center is one of five expansion components in the Garden’s Master Plan, created by Landscape Architect Tres Fromme of 3.fromme DESIGN, Sanford, Fla. The others are new parking and an enhanced entrance, which have been completed; enhancements to the existing gardens; a new Column Courtyard with 10 remaining columns from the Old Madison County Courthouse, which was demolished in the 1960s; and a new Education Center, to be used primarily for children’s programs, environmental and sustainability education, and a certification program for professionals.

The Welcome Center is designed to resemble a traditional Southern-style home. The building will consist of three rental facilities: A Grand Hall that can accommodate up to 350 guests, a more casual Carriage House, which can hold more than 200 guests, and a glass Conservatory, for up to 40 guests.

The Welcome Center will also include a 3,500-sf check-in area, as well as a café and gift shop. The second-floor mezzanine will include exhibit space as well as offices, storage, and conference space.

Turner says it will employ BIM technology on this project “to deliver the highest quality result in the shortest amount of time.” The building should be completed by early next year, and next month the nonprofit Huntsville-Madison County Botanical Garden Society plans to start taking reservations for 2017 events.


The Garden's Master Plan calls for adding to existing gardens, and building an Education Center. Image: 3.fromme DESIGN/Courtesy of Huntsville Botanical Garden Society.


Image: Matheny Goldmon + Interiors 


Image: Matheny Goldmon + Interiors






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