Campaign aims to double size of The Arboretum’s visitor center



By Olivia Senter

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As the face of UK continues to change with the construction of new residence halls, The Arboretum’s visitor center is also going to expand.

“We have grown quicker than we anticipated,” said Marcia Farris, the director of The Arboretum.

Farris said more than 100,000 people visit to The Arboretum each year, and she said the expansion is greatly needed.

The Arboretum Legacy Campaign has a goal to raise $1.2 million, which will expand the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center and provide an endowment to support events.

On Aug. 25, M. Scott Smith, dean of College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, announced the campaign at the Friends of The Arboretum annual meeting.

Dorotha Smith Oatts has given the Arboretum a $350,000 challenge grant.

She has agreed to match any contributions made before the end of 2016, with an overall match of $250,000 for the Visitor Center and $100,000 for the endowment.

The 2,150 additional square feet will almost double the square footage of the existing building.

Additions to the visitor center will include a reception area, kitchen, storage and a library/resource room.

The offices in the current visitor center will also be moved into the new wing.

“The endowment allows for self-support. We need to start thinking about the future,” Farris said.

The new addition, known as Phase 2, is scheduled to begin in 2016, which will be the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Arboretum. The campaign will be collecting money through Dec. 31, 2016, according to an article by UK Agriculture News.

The Arboretum opened in 1991 and was named the “Official State Botanical Garden of the Commonwealth of Kentucky” in March of 2000.

It is home to several outdoor amenities and educational opportunities, as well as more than 100 acres of land.

Visitors can enjoy walking, running or biking along the two-mile paved trail.

Since the Dorotha Smith Oatts Visitor Center opened, events such as insect hunting and composting workshops have been hosted in the center.