High Point University

Donald R. and Teresa B. Caine Conservatory development update

The Butterfly Cafe is expected to open in March. Photo by Breanne Valentine

By Emma Ralls

A & E Editor

On Sept. 18, 2018, High Point University broke ground on the Donald R. and Teresa B. Caine Conservatory. Construction is still underway for both the conservatory and the Butterfly Cafe, located inside.

The conservatory is located next to the Wanek School of Natural Sciences, one of the newest buildings on HPU’s campus that had its grand opening on Oct. 17. Its opening is part of the wave of construction and renovation that HPU President Nido Qubein planned.

“At HPU, we created a learning environment where our faculty engage, inspire and educate students along their personal transformation,” Qubein said in an interview with Triad Business Journal. “These projects further our mission and continued growth.”

The conservatory has taken around 12-14 months to construct, with the glass roofing being the pinnacle piece.

“The white glass, as opposed to the normal, clear glass you see on windows, allows you to manipulate the color,” said Jason Sweet, director of HPU’s Construction and Renovation.

The conservatory has space for botanical research and plant growth for the Mariana H. Qubein Arboretum and Gardens and functions as a working greenhouse. Inside, there are six-foot deep plant beds, space for free-hanging wall plants and a large water feature in the center.

The rocks in the water feature were hand placed by construction workers. According to Sweet, it took two weeks for the crew to arrange the rocks.

“Bringing in plants, especially palm trees, so soon would cause them all to go into shock. We need to wait until the temperature levels out before the plants can arrive,” said Sweet.

The university is importing plants from Florida, and they are projected to be delivered in April.

The conservatory also comes with some technological advancements. The roof will have a color-changing ability. Additionally, there will be a touchscreen console wall that visitors can use to learn about the functions of the conservatory and the plants inside.

There will also be a special heater to keep the plants warm in the colder months and heat-sensitive windows that will automatically open if they detect the plants are overheating.

Inside the conservatory, across the hand laid, outdoor, blue- stone path, is the Butterfly Cafe. The Butterfly Cafe will be one of the newest eateries on campus.

There will be a mix of indoor and outdoor seating at the Butterfly Cafe. Outside, there are leaf-shaped islands that will provide space for students to eat, chat, study and spend time with their peers.

There are also two cabanas with hand-painted murals and extra seating. The Butterfly Cafe also features its own touchscreen console, a classroom and modern bathrooms.

The 18,589-square-foot project faced some challenges. At the beginning of construction, there was excess groundwater that caused a delay. However, progress continues to be made on the project.

The opening date for the cafe is expected in March, with hopes that students will be able to visit and enjoy a meal before the academic year is over.