WESTMINSTER, CO-The Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium is planning a $7.4-million, 40,000-sf facility just five years after it opened as the nation’s first stand-alone butterfly pavilion and insect zoo.

Wilson Porterfield, who represents the pavilion, says it will be the largest complex of its kind in the world. The new facility will be built across the street from the existing one, slightly less than 18,000 sf, at Westminster Promenade development at US 36 and W. 104th Ave. Plans call for an 80-foot high, all-glass pyramid.

“The new Butterfly Pavilion will bring science education and awe under a magnificent glass pyramid,” says Westminster Mayor Nancy Heil.

Construction begins in February, with an opening scheduled for March 2002. The city of Westminster, northwest of Denver, will lease the land for the new pavilion to the Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium for $1 a year for 75 years. The pavilion will keep $2.1 million from the sale of its old complex to help defray the new building costs, with the balance to split evenly with 50-50 with Westminster, Porterfield says. The current building is valued between $3.2 million and $3.3 million, and the Rocky Mountain Butterfly Consortium board expects to net about $2.5 million from the sale, he adds.

The new pavilion will feature several levels of a simulated rain forest environment and native animals. It also will include classrooms, a restaurant, research laboratory, greenhouse, outdoor habitat gardens and a cultural center. Last year, the pavilion attracted about 100,000 visitors.”This helps to round off the city’s vision of providing high quality educational, scientific, and leisure activities,” Bill Christopher, Westminster’s city manager, told GlobeSt.com

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