About the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center
Nestled into the base of Comstock Knoll, in the heart of the botanical garden, the Cornell Botanic Gardens' Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center provides many long wished-for visitor amenities. Designed by noted Canadian architects, Baird Sampson Neuert, the Nevin Welcome Center is the culmination of many years of planning for improved visitor services. The completion of this building was the "grand finale" of improvements to infrastructure and visitor services at Cornell Botanic Gardens over the last decade. Learn more here.
The first floor of the Nevin Welcome Center includes a bright and airy two-story atrium and lobby. Here visitors will find interpretive exhibits about Cornell Botanic Gardens, a reception desk, fully accessible restrooms, a gift shop, and small café.
To better serve Cornell Botanic Gardens’ education and outreach programs, the second floor, accessible by stairs and an elevator, includes a large, 100-seat multipurpose room, which can be divided to accommodate two classes or meetings at the same time. Additionally, there is a small conference room and kitchenette. For information on renting rooms in this facility, click here.
LEED Gold (Leadership in Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Welcome Center will advance the identity of Cornell Botanic Gardens as a “green garden” and promote its leadership role in environmental stewardship initiatives. To learn more, click here to view a handout on green building features which is displayed in the lobby.
Botanical Garden Improvements
In concert with the construction of the Nevin Welcome Center, we also made significant improvements to the surrounding botanical garden. These improvements started with a new parking area and tour- bus drop off zone. The parking area and arrival plaza were partially constructed of Cornell Structural SoilTM, a special substrate design that allows better root penetration to encourage vigorous tree growth. The arrival plaza at the parking area is shaded by trees that will become part of our Urban Tree Collection.
Adjacent to the parking area, a new bioswale provides an innovative landscaping approach that precludes the need for conventional underground drainage systems. The bioswale garden includes plants that can withstand dry and wet conditions, all of which filter surface water runoff from the parking lot and surrounding areas.
Another improvement to the botanical garden includes a lighted, accessible walkway from the parking area to the Nevin Welcome Center and central gardens.
Cornell Botanic Gardens has launched a major initiative to raise $4 million to build new gardens in front of the Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center. That goal includes $1 million for construction and plant material, and $3 million to endow the new horticulturist positions that will be required to maintain the gardens. Learn more here.
This ambitious project will provide a new home for Cornell Botanic Gardens' beloved peony collection within a series of new perennial gardens in front of the Nevin Center. Our goal is to secure the funding by 2014 so that we can build the new gardens and dedicate them during Cornell’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2015! Learn more about how you can support these new gardens here.