Teresa McLaughlin, Reiman Gardens, (515) 294-4412
Steve Sullivan, News Service, (515) 294-3720


AMES, Iowa -- The next phase in the on-going growth of Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens will be construction of a "garden under glass," a $9.6 million project that will include a conservatory, butterfly flight house, greenhouses, head house, auditorium, multi-purpose room, cafe and gift shop.

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved the schematic design and revised budget for the project during its June meeting.

The conservatory will house permanent and rotating plant displays. Native and exotic butterflies will be grown and displayed in the all-glass butterfly flight house, which also will have exotic plants and a water feature. Paths throughout the house will provide opportunities for the public to watch the butterflies.

The auditorium and multi-purpose rooms will be used for educational and outreach programs, such as seminars, demonstrations, lectures and workshops. The greenhouses will be used to grow plants for the conservatory and gardens, and will be open for public tours. The head house will include a cold storage area and house equipment for maintaining the plant collection.

The gift shop will market items associated with Reiman Gardens or horticulture, as well as educational tools. Food prepared off-site will be sold in the cafe.

The project, which will occupy almost 31,000 square feet, will be constructed north and west of the existing Reiman Garden areas and adjacent to the Mahlstede Building, which houses administrative offices. The entry to the conservatory at the north will be flanked by the butterfly flight house and auditorium. Officials estimate the conservatory will draw up to 250,000 visitors a year.

Much of the buildings will be glass and the project is expected to be a "signature architectural beacon" from Elwood Drive, even more so at dusk when it will be lit up by interior lights. The structure will "step up" along the existing hillside, providing various views onto the gardens.
The original budget for the project, under $9 million, grew when the butterfly flight house and public and circulation areas were enlarged. The additional funds will be provided by private donations through the ISU Foundation. The project is expected to be completed by August 2002.


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