US (IN): New orchid greenhouse opens at Ball State

Cheryl LeBlanc’s eyes widened as she caught a glimpse of the long line of people entering the greenhouse for the first time.

“This is so amazing,” LeBlanc said, grinning. “I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do.”

“It” is Ball State University’s new Dr. Joe and Alice Rinard Orchid Greenhouse, which opened with a fitting ceremony on a sunny Saturday afternoon. LeBlanc is its director.

The 3,400-square-foot greenhouse will display the Wheeler-Thanhauser Orchid Collection and Species Bank, which now numbers more than 1,800 plants.

“It has been long known that this was a unique and powerful collection and it is just wonderful that we have a new and beautiful home for it,” said BSU President Jo Ann Gora.

The first orchid greenhouse opened in 1971.

Retired dentist Joe Rinard provided the funding for the greenhouse in honour of his late wife, Alice, who graduated from Ball State University and had a great love of art and nature.

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