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Conservatory meeting Nov. 17

Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, Cornell University, November 15, 2010

Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory, Cornell University, November 15, 2010

A meeting with Senior Associate Dean Jan Nyrop to discuss the teaching functions of Cornell’s greenhouses will be held Nov. 17 at 4:30 p.m. in 404 Plant Science Building.

Yesterday, the Cornell Chronicle published this article online. Here are some excerpts:

Conservatory Greenhouse closes over safety concerns

CALS leadership still committed to meeting conservatory greenhouse need

After 79 years of use by plant science faculty, students, staff and the public, the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory Greenhouse was closed last month by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences due to health and safety concerns. …

In 2008, the college sought to restore the Conservatory Greenhouse. An architectural firm specializing in preservation and restoration and specialists in greenhouse and conservatory preservation were retained, funds were set aside and bids requested. The bids received were dramatically higher than the college’s original estimate of $1 million or even the consultants’ revised estimate of $1.8 million, coming in at around $2.3 million — or more than $600 per square foot.

Currently, CALS has a critical need to renovate or replace 65 percent of the college’s greenhouses, and the college’s administration is considering how to meet the need for a conservatory in the context of CALS’ overall greenhouse needs.

“CALS has been working on a plan for the past four years to ensure the presence of appropriate, sustainable greenhouse facilities to ensure our teaching, outreach and research needs, as part of a greenhouse renewal initiative,” said Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “Financial resources have been set aside for a conservatory greenhouse and are secure. However, these resources are not unlimited and, therefore, must be used wisely and effectively to ensure CALS’ ability to meet the needs of our mission into the future.” …

Marvin Pritts, chair of the Department of Horticulture, said that while he would prefer to see the current “character-filled” structure restored, he understands that it is financially not feasible and sees opportunities for increased engagement with students and the public with a new, more accessible structure and expanded opportunities for more diverse research. …

“There will be a conservatory in CALS, and there will be continued support for the educational mission of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Conservatory Greenhouse,” said Jan Nyrop, senior associate dean. “The conservatory function may be provided via a new greenhouse or by modifying and updating an existing structure. Either way, the college is mindful that any solution needs to be sustainable.”

Read the whole article.

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