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Botanical garden children on a tour-h.env
The State Botanical Garden of Georgia plans to break ground on the Alice H. Richards Children's Garden on Sept. 1.

Design underway, groundbreaking set for Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has hired a designer and a construction manager for the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden and plans to break ground Sept. 1.

Koons Environmental Design, of Athens, will lead plans for the garden, to be nestled in an area between the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and the administration building. The construction manager from Allstate Construction, of Perry, will oversee a superintendent based in Athens for the project.

“I am delighted with our choice of design firm and construction manager for the project,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. “It is clear to me that the entire team—garden staff, university architects, UGA leadership, and the designer and construction manager—are all thinking about this project in the same way. We are all excited to create something unique and rooted in the creativity and sense of place in Athens.”

Both Koons and Allstate have a history of successful projects at UGA, Cruse-Sanders said.

UGA, in partnership with the garden’s board of advisors, has raised more than $4.3 million for the $5 million children’s garden, which includes an initial $1 million gift from the family of Alice H. Richards, for whom the garden is named. Richards, who was from Carrollton, was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors and one of the garden’s most devoted and beloved supporters until her death in 2007.

To help raise funds locally, the garden launched a Georgia Funder crowdfunding page in March, with a goal of raising $10,000 by Sept. 8.

The 2.5 acre accessible, fun-filled, educational environment will include a canopy walk in the trees, a tree house, creature habitats, hands-on garden plots, an underground zone, edible landscapes, and a bog garden and pond. One component, an amphitheater in the woods, was completed in 2015.

The garden is expected to be open to visitors by early 2019.

“We are looking forward to welcoming a new generation to the garden,” Cruse-Sanders said.

To contribute to the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden through Georgia Funder, go to