The Story of the WVBG Education and Event Center
The beautiful, energy-efficient building that is nestled into a sunny hillside at the West Virginia Botanic Garden (WVBG) had another life before it came to the Garden. You might never guess that it started as a student project.
Our Need for a Building
A small, multipurpose, energy-efficient “starter” building could fulfill many of these needs and be a presence at the Garden. By 2013 some progress had been made toward the goal of getting a building. Prospective functions of the building were identified, preliminary plans were drawn up, a fundraiser was held, and an extremely generous anonymous donor and the West Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association made significant donations in support of a multipurpose building. No construction had started yet however.
Then the WVBG Board members saw the solar house. Could this could become the multipurpose, energy-efficient building we needed?
Adapting the Solar House to Our Site
Funding for the Project
The beautiful stone-look finishing of the exposed foundation walls was generously donated by the Gary Nicholas and family in memory of long-time Board member, neighbor, and avid Garden advocate Jo Ann Nicholas. The City of Morgantown helped to enlarge the useable space around the building by funding the large paver patio off the Education Center.
The building that is now known as the Education and Event Center (EEC) serves the WVBG in a variety of ways. What originally were bedrooms are now the offices for the Executive Director, Administrative Assistant, Education Director, and Development Director. The Board and its committees have a place for their meetings. Summer nature camps, workshops, and educational lectures make good use of the Education Center. The storage area provides essential space for the chairs, tables, canopies, tablecloths, and assorted other supplies needed for the activities of the Garden. Importantly, the building now has restrooms with real indoor plumbing for everyone’s comfort!
Numerous events such as our fundraising dinner series make use of the multipurpose space on the upper floor which often spill out onto the 1000+ square foot deck which is decorated with elaborate plantings in pots. Kitchenettes on both floors offer basic food preparation space. The building is a lovely venue that can be rented for small weddings, showers, birthday parties and other events.
New Garden Features to Support the Look and Function of the EEC
Outside the building, beautiful gardens now grace the hillside between the lower parking lot and the building. The garden was designed and installed by former Executive Director, Bill Mills and is named for the donors, Karl and Pam Yagle. Karl was a WVBG Board member and Treasurer for many years and both Karl and Pam have been long-time members and garden supporters. Our newly renovated event lawn, which was funded by a grant from the EQT Foundation, is directly adjacent to the Event and Education Center making it very convenient to transition between indoor and outdoor portions of events. Recent installed outdoor lighting makes it feasible to have evening activities at the Garden; this improvement was enabled by funds from the City of Morgantown.
Mailing Address: 714 Venture Drive, PMB 121, Morgantown, WV 26508