Ball State University is expanding the Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse on the Muncie campus. The university says the project will allow the greenhouse to accommodate more visitors and host more community events. Originally built in 2015, the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse features the largest collegiate orchid species collection in the U.S. with 2,100 orchids. The expansion will increase the size of the conservatory and provide a new Nature Lab. Sustainable features for this project include a cistern capable of holding 3,000 gallons of rainwater and a photovoltaic array. arcDESIGN was the architect of record for the original building.
The expansion comes with a $1.8 million price tag, the majority of which is being funded through private donations and grants, according to a university spokesperson. The project will double the size of the greenhouse’s 800-square-foot conservatory and add a 1,500-square-foot environmental education Nature Lab. The education lab will serve as a dedicated community learning multi-purpose space.
“We are looking forward to accommodating even greater visitation in the future, and we are excited about growing our contribution to our region,” Cheryl LeBlanc, curator of the Rinard Orchid Greenhouse, said in a news release.
Ground was broken in the summer of 2021 and the greenhouse will remain open through construction. A specific time frame for completion was not provided. Ball State says the greenhouse currently attracts more than 6,000 visitors annually, including students from area schools, Ball State students, faculty and staff, and members of the community.