Volunteer Park Conservatory improvement project begins

Construction on a $3 million capital improvement project at Volunteer Park Conservatory begins this week. The project will replace the aging wood glazing system and reinforce the iron structural framework in the Seasonal and Cactus houses of the century-old Victorian-inspired building.

The Conservatory’s Palm house and west wing will remain open during construction and the east wing which contains Seasonal and Cactus houses will be closed during the estimated five-month restoration process. A buildingwide closure will occur in October and November to facilitate additional accessibility improvements in the Palm house. These improvements include expanding walkways and installing new exits to meet ADA and occupational compliance.

This improvement represents the final phase in the Conservatory’s contemporary restoration, which started in 1993. Replicas of the structure will be fabricated in long-lasting extruded aluminum and will match the original historic structure in design, color, texture and other visual qualities when completed. The existing glass will be replaced with more efficient safety glazing, which will increase rated capacity and provide some energy savings.

In addition, the project will replace a 1920s-era production greenhouse with a modern 1,550-square-foot multi-purpose grow facility, which will increase production space and provide an area for educational classes and workshops.

Funding for the project comes from Seattle Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Conservatory (FOC), a nonprofit advocacy group. Working with the Seattle Parks Foundation as fiscal sponsor, the FOC completed a capital campaign in 2013 to generate public support and financing.

Kelly Gould of Seattle Parks and Recreation is the project manager. Adam Young Architecture & Design LLC is the project architect, and Biwell Construction Inc. of Bellevue was awarded the construction contract. Adam Young and Biwell Construction worked on the previous phases of the Volunteer Park Conservatory restoration.

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