The Conservatory, a botanical conservatory, on the campus of Miami University Hamilton is a gift from the Richard J. Fitton family of Hamilton. When opened Sept. 20, 2005, the Cincinnati Enquirer said it is "a state-of-the art building designed to house one of the largest, fully-documented academic collections of exotic plants in the area." It described the building as "a 7,000 square foot center with 11,000 square feet of glass."
When the $4.3 million Fitton gift was announced Dec. 13, 2003, it was said the building would provide space for botanical displays, research, meetings and instructional, plus a plaza, formal gardens and outdoor art. The Conservatory, MUH officials said then, will "expand the existing demonstration prairie, incorporate adjacent woodland areas [and] establish a grove of native trees." According to a Sept. 19, 2005,MUH news release, "The 7,000 square foot multi-use facility, which was designed by Woolpert LLP of Cincinnati, consists of educational, research and public display components with about 5,200 square feet under glass. Within the building, 4,200 square feet will be used for botanical displays and meeting space. The remaining 2,800 square feet will be used for instruction, research, and service purposes. A plaza and formal gardens enhance the entrance to The Conservatory." The release said "The Conservatory features a unique, hipped octagonal design of the atrium roof. Also unique is the all-aluminum structure integrated into the masonry design and construction. Visitors will step into five different environmental control zones capable of maintaining independent temperatures and humidities for various plant collections or research. One zone is specifically designed for horticultural and botanical research with supplemental lighting and maximized growing plant table area. With 11,000 square feet of glass installed, an automatic shade system, which can be controlled based on time, temperature, or light influence. Local artist John Maggard created the panels adorning the outside of the building." (See Hamilton Campus of Miami University .)