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Phipps Conservatory Unveils Newly-Restored Palm Court

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens has been providing joy and entertainment for 125 years.

To celebrate that major milestone, officials decided to make some major enhancements.

"You think about this place and it's remarkable that it's still here," Mayor Bill Peduto said.

"A lot's changed in the world since then. We are still true to that original essence, connecting people to nature and really sharing the beauty of nature with everyone," Phipps CEO Richard Piacentini said.

To celebrate, officials decided to restore an architectural gem.

"This is our biggest project to date, is the Palm Court, because it's the largest of the original nine rooms when it opened in 1893," Piacentini said. "A lot of our work focused on visitor amenities and a lot of it was also focused on replacing some facilities that were dilapidated and falling down."

The ogee crest structure is being restored on the exterior of Palm Court. It was destroyed in a storm back in 1937.

"What's really exciting about this is how we've actually…when doing the renovation of the roof, we replaced all the wood with aluminum that was extruded to match the profile of the original conservatory," Piacentini said. "Instead of this renovation just lasting 15 or 20 years, it can last over 100 years."

Mayor Bill Peduto said even though the building has plenty of history, it's always been ahead of its time.

"It's leading in the redevelopment on a global position on how buildings can work along with nature in order to create sustainability levels that before weren't even considered," Peduto said.

The announcement came just in time for Phipps' annual fall flower show.

The new exhibit opens to the public on Saturday.

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