Donor-Funded Children’s Garden Set for 2019 Opening

Children's Garden

This article is adapted from a piece written by Kelly Simmons featured in UGA TODAY.

ATHENS, Ga. – The University of Georgia State Botanical Garden has hired a designer and a construction manager for the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden and plans to break ground Sept. 1.

UGA, in partnership with the garden’s board of advisors, has raised more than $4.3 million for the $5 million children’s garden, which includes an initial $1 million gift from the family of Alice H. Richards, for whom the garden is named.

To help raise funds locally, the garden launched a Georgia Funder crowdfunding page in March, with a goal of raising $10,000 by Sept. 8.

Richards, a Carrolton, Georgia native, was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors and one of the garden’s most devoted and beloved supporters until her death in 2007.

Koons Environmental Design will lead plans for the garden, to be nestled in an area between the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and the administration building. The construction manager from Allstate Construction will oversee a superintendent based in Athens for the project.

“I am delighted with our choice of design firm and construction manager for the project,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia. “It is clear to me that the entire team-garden staff, university architects, UGA leadership, and the designer and construction manager are all thinking about this project in the same way.”

“We are all excited to create something unique and rooted in the creativity and sense of place in Athens.”

Both Koons and Allstate have a history of successful projects at UGA, Cruse-Sanders said.

The 2.5 acre environment will include a canopy walk in the trees, a tree house, creature habitats, hands-on garden plots, an underground zone, edible landscapes and a bog garden and pond. One component, an amphitheater in the woods, was completed in 2015.

The garden is expected to be open to visitors by early 2019.

To contribute to the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, visit the Georgia Funder.