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Orchids to stay put for now

High bids cause Ball State to delay greenhouse

– Ball State University has tabled efforts to build a new greenhouse to house a well-known orchid collection after bids for the project came in higher than anticipated.

Construction on the Dr. Joe R. and Alice Pursley Rinard Greenhouse had been scheduled to start in September, followed by a grand opening next spring.

But construction bids exceeded the $770,000 budget, and so the university has decided not to accept any of them.

“The university is looking at ways to reduce the total cost of the project and looking for additional private funding so that the original concept can be built,” university spokeswoman Joan Todd told the Star Press.

Rinard, a retired Fort Wayne dentist, donated $600,000 for the project in memory of his late wife, a Ball State graduate.

The Wheeler Orchid Collection and Species Bank is reportedly the largest among all universities in the country.

It is designed to conserve rare and endangered species of orchids, disseminate them for preservation and use them for research and education.

It’s also a tourist attraction, but the existing facility lacks restrooms, a separate display area and other amenities.

The new facility was designed to include restrooms, a display house featuring currently blooming orchids, a growing greenhouse, a “cold house” for orchids from cooler climates and a trellis at the entrance.

The new building will be east of the new Marilyn Glick Center for Glass on the edge of Christy Woods, a 17-acre property on the southwest side of the campus.