The master plan for the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, updated in 2008 by MTR Landscape Architects, includes additional gardens for future development. Ultimately, these gardens will fill in and around the current elements in the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens, and transform the slope from the Overlook Pavilion to the Hartley Wood—providing approximately 25 more acres of cultivated displays and garden demonstration areas.
A design study by GUND Partnership finished in 2013 updated the master plan with schematic designs and construction cost estimates for a Conservatory. This stunning facility, a 10,000-square-foot glasshouse, will stand as a spectacular focal point as viewed from the East Sub Campus allée as well as from many points in the Arboretum. It will be a winter refuge featuring tender and tropical plants, unlike anything else in the region. The Conservatory will also offer opportunities for students and the public to study plants of the tropics. Philanthropy will determine the pace of development.
In May 2019, the University announced the construction of a new art museum that will be located in The Arboretum at Penn State. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and conclude in 2023. In addition to providing space to showcase the University’s collection of art, this facility will also provide offices for Arboretum as well as museum staff, enabling collaborations for a range of cultural and educational activities and events. According to Kim Steiner, professor of Forest Biology and director of the Arboretum, the new museum will “fulfill our long-standing vision of the Arboretum as a venue for the arts as well as a place of beauty and education about the natural world.”