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Group of people with shovels turning over dirt.
Donors, Oklahoma Gardening Ambassadors and other dignitaries turn the first shovels of soil on the site of the new Horticulture Education Center at The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University. (Photo by OSU Foundation)

New education center planned at OSU’s botanic garden

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Media Contact: Trisha Gedon | Sr. Communications Specialist | 405-744-3625 |

Construction will begin soon on the new Horticulture Education Center at The Botanic Garden at Oklahoma State University. Located near the south entrance of the garden, the facility will be used by students, faculty and the community for both formal and informal learning.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place March 30, and the building is expected to be complete by the end of 2023. The 2,100-square-foot facility will feature a large classroom, office space and restrooms.

Lou Anella, director of The Botanic Garden at OSU, said funding for the $1.725 million building comes from multiple sources, including the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, OSU Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture and private donors. In addition, the board of Stillwater’s Wondertorium donated funds to this effort.

“This new building is so important for programming, not only for our students but our community as well,” Anella said. “We have 21 different college classes that use the garden for educational purposes, and when they need to do something out there, the weather always is a challenge. This new building provides more opportunities for students to utilize The Botanic Garden at OSU to enhance their education.”Artist rendering of new Horticulture Education Building.

The building can also be used by other groups such as Master Gardeners and the Payne County Audubon Society to host meetings and other horticultural and educational activities. Anella said he’s looking forward to offering the space for more face-to-face learning opportunities.

TSET, the cornerstone donor for the building, works to improve the health of Oklahomans, and supporting this new opportunity is another way the organization can encourage a healthy lifestyle.

“TSET is excited to partner with The Botanic Garden at OSU to create a space for the community to learn about horticulture,” said Julie Bisbee, TSET executive director. “Gardening is an excellent way to stay active. It can also inspire healthy living by connecting people to the source of their food and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. The new Horticulture Education Center will be a wonderful resource for Oklahomans.”   

Ray Campbell, retired OSU Extension director and former host of “Oklahoma Gardening,” said he has been part of The Botanic Garden at OSU since its inception and has seen the creativity at times to find funding to do new things.

“With the garden being associated with the university, we have an education arm at the garden,” Campbell said, who also serves as an ambassador for The Botanic Garden at OSU. “The garden has grown tremendously, and this is a great opportunity not only for OSU Agriculture and the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, but for the university to showcase horticulture in Oklahoma.”

Campbell said with the south entrance to the garden open from State Highway 51, there is an increased need to provide a space for educational opportunities associated with The Botanic Garden at OSU.

“The Horticulture Education Center is a great addition and much-needed facility to The Botanic Garden at OSU,” said Dr. Thomas G. Coon, vice president and dean of OSU Agriculture. “The Botanic Garden is a public space meant to promote discovery, encounter nature with others and inspire new ideas. We appreciate the donors who have helped support the Horticulture Education Center to further enhance horticultural activities at the garden.”

Due to increased material costs, assistance is still needed for more than $225,000 of the total project, and additional features that will enhance educational efforts. For information on giving to the Horticulture Education Center Project at The Botanic Garden at OSU, contact James Ambrose at or 405-385-5182.

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