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News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 18, 2013

Breaking ground for new Botanical Garden visitor center

Plants aren't the only things growing at the Bellevue Botanical Garden this spring. To accommodate a steady increase in popularity, the Garden is set for some dramatic growth of its own, including the construction of a new visitor center and expansion of the parking lot.

The new visitor center is to include a plaza, shown in this rendering.

A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Tuesday, April 23, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., at the Botanical Garden Shorts Visitor Center, 12001 Main St. The event will feature a preview of the design drawings, music and refreshments.

Mayor Conrad Lee and several councilmembers are confirmed to attend, along with many members of the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society.

The planned improvements are designed to enhance existing educational programs and provide facilities for more visitors.  Designed by Olson Kundig Architects, the project features the following elements:

  • New Visitor Center -- The centerpiece of the improvements, the 8,500 square-foot visitor center will include an outdoor covered orientation space, gift shop, meeting space, offices and restrooms. Multi-purpose classrooms and meeting spaces are designed to meet the rising interest in education at the BBG and accommodate a wide range of programming.
  • Parking Lot Expansion -- The new parking lot will more than double the BBG's current parking capacity and will provide safer access to the visitor center.
  • New Gardens -- The BBG will undergo extensive landscape work and the development of outdoor circulation space. Existing gardens will be enhanced, and new gardens will be developed, including the Fernery, Spring Court and the Iris Rain Garden.

The Botanical Garden opened in 1992, and thrives because of strong community support, including the partnership between the city and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society. With more than 300,000 visitors a year, the Botanical Garden is one of the city's most popular destinations. 

Voters approved the BBG project in the 2008 Parks & Natural Areas Levy. The project is expected to cost about $10 million, and the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society has committed $5 million towards the project through its Growing a Living Legacy private fundraising campaign.  

The project page offers more information, including project details, construction schedule and impacts, or contact Ken Kroeger, project manager at 425-452-4624 or kkroeger@bellevuewa.gov.

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Contact Information

Parks & Community Services
450 110th Ave. NE
P.O. box 90012
Bellevue, WA 98009
Contact: Robin Haaseth, Public Information Officer
Phone: 425-452-6182
E-mail: rhaaseth@bellevuewa.gov

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