Project Details

Project Type

Location

Structure(s)

Products

Naples, Florida

Institutional Techlite Greenhouses, open-shade structure

  • Aluminum glazing system
  • Acrylic panels
  • Automatic ridge vents
  • Motorized sidewall vents
  • Removeable aluminum insect screening with 16×16 mesh at vents
  • High-pressure fog system
  • Unit heaters
  • Automated shade systems
  • Benching (includes specialized orchid benching)
  • Environmental Controls

Techlite greenhouse at Naples Botanical Garden showing roll-up side vents.
The Techlite Institutional greenhouse at Naples Botanical Garden have automatic ridge vents and motorized sidewall vents for cross-ventilation. Image courtesy of Naples Botanical Garden.
Guests view the new greenhouses at the Evenstad Horticulture Campus during a dedication ceremony.
Director of Collections Nick Ewy (right, black shirt) explains the attributes and uses of the new greenhouses at the Evenstad Horticulture Campus during a dedication ceremony. Image courtesy of Naples Botanical Garden.

About Naples Botanical Garden

Founded in 1993, Naples Botanical Garden is a premier public garden in Naples, FL, spanning 170 acres and drawing in 260,000 visitors annually.

It is one of the rare tropical gardens in the U.S. where you can immerse yourself in flora and fauna native to southwest Florida, the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. Some of the tropical locales the garden features include a Brazilian Garden, an Orchid Garden, an Asian Garden, and a Caribbean Garden.

Additionally, visitors can wander through coastal scrub, pine flatwoods, and marsh habitats that showcase more than 400 species of Southwest Florida native plants.

Naples Botanical Garden partners with conservation organizations in Southwest Florida and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean to identify and conserve threatened tropical and subtropical plants, conduct research, and share living plant collections.

The Garden studies coastal ecosystems and advises local governments on best practices and plants to grow for beach dune restoration. It also researches the best plants to use for purifying stormwater runoff.

Project Overview

In 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Naples Botanical Garden hard, damaging many trees and some plant collections as it swept through.
This event prompted the Garden to rethink its conservation efforts. Instead of relying heavily on nursery stock, it began focusing on a strategic collections plan. This plan involves sourcing wild-collected, rare, and threatened plants, as well as plants with verified origins.

However, the Garden’s outdated growing facilities were too small to support this new initiative. The staff looks after nearly 52,000 plants in its collections, with about 19,500 on display, not counting annuals and rotational plants.

Thanks to private donations and financial assistance provided by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection through the Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program, the Evenstad Horticulture Campus was dedicated on Jan. 16, 2024.


60,000 Square Feet of Growing in One Location

This new campus combines all the Garden’s growing activities at one convenient location. It features three greenhouses, an acre of outdoor nursery space, an open shade house, a potting shed, a maintenance shop, and a laboratory.

With more than 60,000 square feet of cultivation space now at its disposal, Naples Botanical Garden can now expand its plant collections and intensify its research efforts to find nature-based solutions to environmental challenges.

This supports crucial conservation efforts to protect threatened tropical and subtropical plants, including native species at risk from habitat loss, climate change, and natural disasters.

The new facility offers several benefits:
• In-house cultivation of high-quality plants
• Collaboration with plant collectors and other botanical gardens
• Studies to identify plants best suited for Southwest Florida’s climate
• Increased space for conservation research

Prospiant handled the design, structural engineering, manufacturing, and construction of three freestanding Techlite greenhouses and an open-shade structure at the Evenstad Horticulture Campus.

The Garden plans to use these structures primarily for growing orchids and other plants for its landscapes. The greenhouses will also house some important conservation collections, such as a collection of Puerto Rican cacti currently being decimated by invasive pests in their native habitat, to safeguard their genetics.

The Techlite greenhouses each provide a total of 10,700 square feet of growing space, while the open shade structure covers 10,000 square feet. One of the Techlite greenhouses includes a special propagation section that occupies a third of its space.

Greenhouse Features

The three Techlite greenhouses have 18-foot gutter heights and are covered with 16 mm clear, double-skinned Impact Modified Acrylic panels from Evonik. The glazing bars are spaced 46 inches apart.

Each greenhouse is equipped with double-motorized automatic ridge vents and single-motorized sidewall vents for cross-ventilation. They also feature high-pressure fog systems for cooling and propagation, as well as automated shade systems. Each greenhouse has unit heaters as a precaution against cold snaps, and they have full irrigation systems (not done by Prospiant).

The special propagation section in one of the greenhouses does not have roll-up sides due to the need for a little more control over the environment. This section includes exhaust fans and operable louvers for ventilation.

Prospiant also installed plant growth benches and specialized tiered orchid benches in the greenhouses.

Open-shade structure at Naples Botanical Garden.
The Open-Shade structure on the Evenstad Horticulture Campus at Naples Botanical Gardens provides 10,000 square feet of outdoor growing space.

Project Execution

Design work for the Naples Botanical Garden project started in 2018, and it took around a year to finalize the drawings.

From 2018 and 2022, the project faced delays due to master planning, COVID, and hurricane damage.

The groundbreaking for the Evenstad Horticulture Campus took place on March 21, 2022. A general contractor handled all the site development work, while Prospiant contracted directly with the Garden for the design and build portion.

Prospiant crews began construction in February 2023. They paused in July to allow other contractors to finish the electrical and plumbing work. Prospiant crews returned early in 2024 to finish the greenhouses.

By late March 2024, Prospiant had completed owner training and full-system start-up of the greenhouses.

The Techlite greenhouses at Naples Botanical Garden have roll-up sides to facilitate airflow.
The three Techlite greenhouses have 18-foot gutter heights and are covered with 16 mm clear, double-skinned Impact Modified Acrylic panels from Evonik. The glazing bars are spaced 46 inches apart.

“Naples Botanical Garden grows and cares for a large tropical collection of diverse species with diverse needs,” says Brian Galligan, Vice President of Horticulture at Naples Botanic Garden. “The tropic’s hot and humid conditions created many challenges for the typical greenhouse construction project and demanded a truly customized facility.

“The past and potential future for adverse environmental conditions such as freezes, floods, and hurricanes created a need for unique engineering solutions as well.

“Garden and Prospiant staff researched the needs of these species, and the resulting greenhouses are engineered to get heat out efficiently and create optimum, year-round growing conditions. Strict county code requirements were easily appeased by Prospiant’s competent team. We are very happy with the final product and are looking forward to seeing it in action for many years to come.”

Learn more about Prospiant’s building, restoration, and maintenance services for research and education greenhouse facilities, and check out the restoration of a tropical greenhouse that Prospiant did for the University of California (UC) Berkeley Botanical Gardens.


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