OKC VeloCity | Crystal Bridge interior to be renovated

Crystal Bridge interior to be renovated

By Molly M. Fleming / Inside OKC / August 21, 2020

The Crystal Bridge at Myriad Botanical Gardens is getting a new name and an updated look.

The Inasmuch Foundation has committed $2.5 million for a complete interior renovation of the iconic structure, which will be renamed as the Inasmuch Foundation Crystal Bridge Conservatory. This second phase of bridge updates follows a renovation completed in 2018, when classroom spaces were built in the lower level for John Rex Middle School. The Phase One renovation also included the Visitor Center lobby update, funded by Devon Energy.

This phase features a complete renovation of the interior conservatory spaces to enhance visitor engagement with a more diverse plant collection, interactive educational exhibits, improved ADA accessibility, and a museum-quality gift shop.

Construction will begin immediately. The interior renovation is being designed by Washington-based landscape architects Murase and Associates, which is working with Oklahoma City-based ADG architecture firm. Lingo Construction is managing the build. Illinois-based Charles Sparks & Co. is planning the new museum-quality gift shop and Gecko Group from Philadelphia is overseeing and creating the exhibits.

As the construction progress, The Crystal Bridge will close in the spring and remain closed until summer 2022. The south lobby will remain open so art events can continue.

CEO of Myriad Gardens Foundation and Scissortail Park Foundation Maureen Heffernan said at the announcement event that the update is needed in order for The Crystal Bridge to continue to be a polished jewel. The bridge has not had a major renovation since it opened in 1988.

“This will be a full renovation, from top to bottom and north to south,” she said. “We’re re-envisioning the experience. This will be a better experience for school field trips and we’ll finally have a gift shop, which all our visitors ask about.”

The Crystal Bridge has more than 70,000 visitors a year. It has more than 1,000 plants and 650 plant varieties. The space measures 13,000 square feet and the tube is made by 3,028 double-layer translucent panels.

Myriad Gardens Foundation Chairman Emeritus Jim Tolbert said this update continues the vision of Dean McGee, who envisioned the gardens in the 1970s.

Inasmuch Foundation Chairman and CEO Bob Ross called the bridge a very special place that’s unique to Oklahoma City. He said the foundation is pleased to make the donation, which continues its ongoing support of the Gardens. To date, the Inasmuch Foundation has given $3.6 million to the Gardens through 17 grants, said Ross.

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