University Park, Pa. -- Altoona-based general contractor Leonard S. Fiore Inc. has been named builder for phase 1 of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens in the Arboretum at Penn State. Work is now under way and is scheduled for completion in spring 2009.
One of central Pennsylvania"s largest general contractors, Fiore has been general contractor for numerous other University projects, including the Bryce Jordan Center and Paterno Library on the University Park campus, and the Community Arts Center at Penn State Altoona.
According to Judy Larkin, Office of Physical Plant project manager, phase 1 of the botanic gardens will include an overlook pavilion and conservatory terrace to provide visitors places to sit, to celebrate or to learn, as well as an event lawn, rose garden and area for demonstrating horticultural techniques. Hummingbird and butterfly gardens also will be included in this initial phase.
"The gardens and spaces within the gardens are planned to be a tightly woven tapestry of beauty, education and service to visitors," she said. "Future phases may include a conservatory, children's garden and an orchard, depending on the funding the Arboretum receives from additional donors."
The Arboretum at Penn State, occupying nearly 370 acres between Park Avenue and the Mount Nittany Expressway on the University Park campus, will be open to the public.
Funded almost entirely by philanthropic support, the Arboretum is expected to be a major cultural and tourist destination in central Pennsylvania, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors annually.
In May 2007, donor Charles "Skip" Smith made a $10 million gift to the University which enabled design and construction plans for the botanic gardens of the Arboretum to move forward. The botanic gardens, named in honor of Smith's father, will be the symbolic front entrance to the larger Arboretum.
For more information, visit http://www.arboretum.psu.edu online.