Looking into the tented event terrace of the overlook pavilion
in Phase I of the H. O. Smith Botanic Gardens
Planning and design for
The Arboretum at Penn State are occurring in three stages, corresponding
with three levels of detail.
Stage I was development of the preliminary
master plan by Sasaki
Associates, Inc., Watertown, Massachusetts, under the general
supervision of the Arboretum Task Force, a committee of University
faculty and staff chaired by Kim Steiner. Work on the preliminary
master plan began in November 1996 and was completed in January
1999. The plan was approved by the University Board of Trustees
in March 1999 as part of the University Park Campus Master Plan.
Stage II will involve the preparation of master
plans for sectors of the Arboretum in which the programming and
use will be discretely different as defined in the preliminary
master plan: the Mitchell Tract (botanic gardens and associated
facilities), Overlook Heights (agriculture research and demonstration),
and Big Hollow North and South (natural areas).
Stage II master planning for the Mitchell Tract was performed
Landscape Architects, LLC (formerly Marshall·Tyler·Rausch),
Pittsburgh, with oversight by a core design team of Penn State
faculty and staff and with input from the Faculty Advisory Committee
to the Arboretum, Penn State administration, and members of the
public (through scheduled public meetings). The Mitchell Tract
master plan was completed in spring 2002.
In 2005, when the Penn State Dickinson School of Law decided
to expand to a two-campus system, they chose to erect their building
at University Park directly east
of the site for the botanic gardens on Park Avenue. In response
to this decision, the Arboretum revised the Mitchell Tract master
plan in 2006 to integrate the gardens aesthetically and functionally
with our new neighbor’s site.
The Stage III level, which depends on private
donations, involves the design and construction of individual
buildings, gardens, and other facilities identified in the master
plans. This phase began in May 2007 when we received a lead gift
$10 million from Charles H. Smith to begin constructing the
H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens. Construction for this phase began
in June 2008 and was completed in fall 2009.
To be kept informed about progress in planning and design, and
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