Betty Ford Alpine Gardens ground breaking: ‘An important step’ |

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens ground breaking: ‘An important step’

Special to the Daily

VAIL — The team at the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, along with R.A. Nelson LLC, Zehren & Associates architects, recently broke ground for the new Alpine Education Center at Ford Park. Planned for 3,400 square feet in size, the new center will serve as a home to manage the gardens and to provide a year-round educational experience for visitors.

The education center will feature a visitor learning experience with displays of the alpine environment, traveling exhibits from other gardens, activity stations and videos. It will also serve as a place for small lectures and community events for up to 100 people. The Alpine House, attached to the main building, will be an indoor greenhouse space displaying alpine plants year-round. A resource library will provide a work space for hands-on educational programs for small groups, in addition.

“This is such an important step for this organization, as it moves (the Gardens) to a new level. The educational opportunities are endless, and it is a very exciting day for Ford Park,” said Nicola Ripley, executive director for the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens.

The building is designed to take full advantage of its location in Ford Park. This includes south-facing windows to absorb heat from the sun and keep the building warm in the winter. With the sun higher in the sky in the summer, the light won’t shine directly into the building, which will help keep the building cooler in the warmer months. The topography on the north side of the building allows for the structure to be built into the hillside, creating an additional layer of thermal mass insulation. There is also a green roof that includes a roof terrace for additional functional space. The center will be complete by the summer of 2015.

For more information about this and other projects, visit

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