At the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG), keeping the grass green and the flowers in bloom requires a lot of behind-the-scenes work, much of which happens at the Site Operations Center at the hands of the DC37 workforce, the maintenance team, engineers, carpenters, and administrative staff who keep the 250-acre garden beautiful.
Currently, the operations and administrative work takes place within three separate facilities, the Stable, the Upper Garage, and the Lower Garage–all of which are showing their age. Last week, the NYBG announced it was a recipient of $2 million in funding from Mayor Eric Adams’s $117 million investment for cultural projects in New York City, allocated in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget.
The project to completely revamp the NYBG’s Site Operations Center is slated to cost $25 million. In addition to the money from the city, the project will also receive funding from private donations, the State of New York, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“The staff and Board of NYBG are passionate about making the Botanical Garden’s National Historic Landmark campus a welcoming, sustainable, and accessible place for the public to connect to the natural world,” said NYBG CEO and William C. Steere Sr. President Jennifer Bernstein in a press release. “The City’s leadership investment in the Garden’s Site Operations Center and projects throughout the Bronx demonstrate the Mayor and his team recognize the unmatched power of cultural organizations as drivers of economic strength and social vibrancy.”
NYBG will use this funding to support the design and construction of a new Site Operations Center that it says will be to be one of the first “net-positive energy” facilities in the Bronx once completed. In order to achieve this, the new two low-lying garage–like facilities joined by a passageway will be constructed in mass timber and feature geothermal wells and a roof topped with photovoltaic panels. It will target LEED Platinum certification.
Current design renderings of the updated facility, by Mitchell Giurgola Architects, show the structures fronted with several large garage-door bays and a mass timber structure. The buildings will be clad with Ultra High Performance Concrete panels, depicted in a shade of brown in the renderings. The rooftop solar panels and ten geothermal wells on the site will generate renewable energy. Elsewhere around the site are electric vehicle charging stations, picnic tables for staff, and of course, new plantings and other vegetation.
Within the new Site Operations Center are both administrative and trade-oriented workspaces, among these a workforce training room, a vehicle storage and repair shop, and a multi-purpose meeting room. To support employee needs there will also be a lunchroom and small kitchen and an all-gender locker room with changing rooms and showers.
NYBG is one of several entities and organizations in the Bronx, and in other boroughs, to receive funding from the city’s fiscal budget. Elsewhere in the Bronx, projects at the Bronx County Historical Society, Bronx Museum, The Point, Pregones / PRTT Traveling Theater, Wave Hill, and the Bronx Zoo will also receive financial support.
Once construction kicks off on the new Site Operations Center, work will take 18 months to finish.