The State Botanical Garden of Georgia has hired a designer and a construction manager for the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden, and plans to break ground on Sept. 1.

Koons Environmental Design, of Athens, Ga., will lead plans for the garden, to be nestled in an area between the Alice Hand Callaway Visitor Center and the administration building. The construction manager t from Allstate Construction, of Perry, Ga., will oversee a superintendent, based in Athens for the project.

“I am delighted with our choice of design firm and construction manager for the project,” said Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, a unit of UGA Public Service and Outreach. “It is clear to me that the entire team—garden staff, university architects, UGA leadership, and the designer and construction manager—are all thinking about this project in the same way. We are all excited to create something unique and rooted in the creativity and sense of place in Athens.”

Both Koons and Allstate have a history of successful projects at UGA, Cruse-Sanders said.

So far UGA, in partnership with the garden’s board of advisors, has raised more than $4.3 million for the $5 million children’s garden, which includes an initial $1 million from the family of Alice H. Richards, for whom the garden is named. Richards, who was from Carrollton, Ga., was a charter member of the State Botanical Garden Board of Advisors and one of the garden’s most devoted and beloved supporters until her death in May 2007.

To help raise funds locally, the garden launched a Georgia Funder site in March, with a goal of raising $10,000 by Sept. 8. The crowdfunding initiative, launched in 2014-15, is an easy way for individuals to contribute to UGA.

The two-and-a-half-acre accessible fun-filled educational environment will include a canopy walk in the trees, a tree house, creature habitats, hands-on garden plots, an underground zone, edible landscapes, and a bog garden and pond. One component, an amphitheater in the woods, was completed in 2015.

The garden is expected to be open to visitors by early 2019. “We are looking forward to welcoming a new generation to the Garden,” Cruse-Sanders said.

To contribute to the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden through Georgia Funder, go to

Writer: Kelly Simmons,, 706-542-2512

Contact: Jenny Cruse-Sanders,, 706-542-6131