By Chuck Gleaves
It is exciting times at Kingwood Center Gardens right now. We are breaking out of our chrysalis to create a vastly enhanced visitor experience with our first ever visitor center accompanied by new gardens and expanded parking in a garden setting. Construction is scheduled to begin in March of 2019. As a prelude to all of that and to make it possible for us to manage our dramatically larger and better public attractions we will first make a large addition to our service building.
Our capital campaign is going well. We have raised almost 7.5 million dollars of our 8.5 million dollar goal. (A million and a half more dollars would let us complete the renovation of the perennial garden, a project that didn’t quite fit into the 8.5 million dollar budget.)
With the expansion comes more work and higher expectations for our gardening and maintenance staff. Our fifty-two year old service building has been long overdue for renovation and expansion, especially now as we need to gear-up for increased and more challenging work. Fortunately, our operating trust has been particularly successful lately and will be able to fund a new 3,850 square foot wing to the service building, which we will be adding this year and which will be completed before we start construction next year on the much bigger job of the visitor center complex.
The service building addition will allow us to not only update our operations, create more room for our equipment, and provide better work space for our maintenance department but will also finally assemble all our gardeners under one roof. We have reorganized the horticultural staff and added a long sought after additional gardener position, all in anticipation of the new and greater challenges ahead.