October 04, 2010

News Release

For Immediate Release

Botanical Center Grand Opening Week

Southwest Missouri’s latest destination attraction will focus on horticulture, preservation and sustainability, as the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center opens with a week-long celebration Monday, Oct. 11 – Sunday, Oct. 17, with free hands-on activities for children and adults, horticulture seminars, dedication ceremonies, a national symposium focusing on nature and play, live entertainment, and much more.

THE BUILDING

The 12,700-square foot facility, within Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, 2400 S. Scenic, is owned and operated by the Springfield-Greene County Park Board and features classroom space for outreach programs and a soil and research lab, where area residents can bring in items like soil samples for exam. The building also has a large two-story atrium, adjacent gift shop and restrooms. The facility will now house a number of offices for University of Missouri Extension, Friends of the Garden and Park Board Botanical staff.

The facility was designed to qualify for Silver Level LEED certification. Just a few of the examples of LEED-related elements incorporated into the facility include: geo-thermal ground source heat pump systems utilized for both heating and cooling, LED parking lot light fixtures, low water use plumbing fixtures, solar orientation, ceiling tile and fiberglass batt insulation containing 30% post consumer recycled materials, wood source utilized in construction from producers practicing sustainable forestry management practices, and the use of locally available materials.

The new Center is the focal point of both parks and overlooks the Great Lawn toward Drummond Lake and Close Memorial Park and Gardens.

The building was designed by H Design of Springfield and built by R.E. Smith Construction. The $4.35 million project included an adjacent nature playground. Funding was available through the voter-approved 1/4-cent County-Wide Parks Sales Tax, private donations, Greene County, and the City’s 2001 1/4-cent Sales Tax for Capital Improvements.

OPENING WEEK ACTIVITIES

Week-long celebration activities Oct. 11 – 17 will highlight the functionality of the building and surrounding grounds and offer a number of free activities for the public to enjoy. For a full schedule, visit www.botanicalcenter.org or call 417-864-1049. Some of the highlights include:

HISTORY

Nathanael Greene Park is a 59-acre tract received as surplus property from the U.S. Department of Interior and Bureau of Prisons in 1975. Over the years, the land has been gradually developed to include the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, the Gray-Campbell Farmstead and University of Missouri Extension’s Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden.

The 55-acre Close Memorial Park was established in cooperation with the Springfield-Greene County Park Board in 1998. The purchase of the land was made possible by a donation from the C.M. Close family. In that same year, Friends of the Garden Inc. was founded as a support group for Close Park.

The first concerted effort to raise private funds for the Botanical Center began in 2003 following the initial architectural design and estimate. On Oct. 20, 2006, the Springfield-Greene County Park Board approved a master plan for the Complex. That master plan includes 45 distinct gardens to be developed over several years, including the Japanese Stroll Garden.

Seasonal Gardens include: The Dr. Bill Roston Native Butterfly House open weekends 10 a.m.-6 p.m., mid-May-September; The Gray-Campbell Farmstead weekends, 1:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m., May-September; and the Mizumoto Japanese Stroll garden open 9 a.m.-7:30 p.m., Thursday-Monday, April-October. Adult admission for the stroll garden is $3. All other attractions are free. Special guided tours are available by calling 417-864-1049.

Additional highlights in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park are Lake Drummond; the Host Lion’s Club History Walk; playgrounds; picnic areas with grills; pavilions; statuary; scenic walkways; and the nationally designated South Creek Greenway Trail. A new Guide by Cell® feature allows visitors to learn more about points of interest throughout the property by calling 417-213-3016. Look for signage at each garden area.

MEDIA: For more information, media contact: Katie Steinhoff, Botanical Center Coordinator, 417-353-3098; or Jodie Adams, Director of Parks, 417-864-1329.