Belle Isle conservatory to close until 2024 for renovations to dome

Interior dome image. Photo courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Belle Isle conservatory will close next November for a next round of renovations to its glass dome. 

The $10 million renovations have been undertaken on in phases with the first being completed in 2019 to replace the 20 original steel beams for the ceiling. However, the next segment of work will shut down the interior of the conservatory until May 2024.

"Major renovations are needed to stabilize the building to keep the conservatory open for the next century," said Amanda Treadwell, urban field planner for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division. "Although construction will temporarily close this popular attraction, the scope of work is critical to the structural integrity of the dome, public safety and improved conditions for the plant collection."

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory will close Nov. 14 so work on the upper 60 feet of the massive dome can commence. The renovations will be to remove the lead-based paint in the dome, reglazing the upper dome, and updating the conservatory's ventilation system.

MORE: Detroit rapper Gmac Cash raps about Belle Isle Giant Slide

The work will take a while, but is badly overdue, Treadwell said in a statement. 

"Besides the recent renovations in 2019, there has not been a major capital investment to the conservatory since the 1950s," she said. "The goal with this project is to address the scope of work currently identified, ensure efficiencies in construction staging and eliminate the need to close the Palm House in the future."

The outdoor gardens will reopen in May 2023 but fans of the conservatory will have to wait another year before they can go inside. Throughout the next two months, workers will erect scaffolding and a second floor to help contain the abatement work that will reduce the impact on the climate inside the conservatory. 

RELATED: Belle Isle Nature Center reopens after $2.5 million renovation

The $10 million comes from federal relief funding and private donations raised by the conservatory. 

All other island attractions will remain open, including the Aquarium.