Ball State dedicates new greenhouse
Ball State dedicated the next component in transforming its campus. Today, the university hosted a ribbon cutting for the new $1.35 million Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse.
The greenhouse will have the Wheeler-Thanhauser Orchid Collection and Species Bank.
It is located in Christy Woods and its 3,600-square-foot facility will house the country's largest collegiate collection of orchids.
University President Jo Ann Gora presided over the ceremony.
"When I was first looking to come to Ball State, I bought a book on Indiana," she said. "And the only thing it mentioned about East Central Indiana was the Wheeler orchid collection. When I came here, I saw there was so much more and I resolved to change that."
The ceremony for dedication and ribbon cutting attracted more than 100 people.
The greenhouse was largely due to the contributions donors and alumnus Joe Rinard, the namesake of the building, along with his deceased wife.
"Ball State called me up and told me the story and what they wanted to do," Rinard said. "And I said, 'Why not?'"
Following the ceremony, attendees went on the first tours of the new facility with its docents.
Cheryl LeBlanc, curator and orchid research technician for the greenhouse, was overcome with emotion.
"I'm just stunned," she said. "It's been such an amazing turnout. More than 300 people volunteered to help with this, and all the dedication is humbling."
LeBlanc has worked at the greenhouse for more than 20 years and the new facility will allow her to move from part time to full time.
"It's my favorite thing to share the collection," she said. "Now, I can do that much better."
View a gallery of the ceremony here and read the full story in Monday's newspaper.