SAN DIEGO — Renovations to the Balboa Park Botanical Building have been moved into the next part of construction, City of San Diego officials announced last week.

“Visitors to Balboa Park can expect to see different segments of the building covered like this for at least several months as crews work to bring the iconic building back to its original 1915 look,” city officials wrote on social media.

In this phase, crews will be sandblasting the steel structure of the building, as well as applying a protective coating and paint. The tent-like cover helps to protect visitors from any debris that might leave the construction zone during this work, according to the city.

The outside of the Botanical Building as it moves into the next part of construction work. (Courtesy of the City of San Diego)
The outside of the Botanical Building as it moves into the next part of construction work. (Courtesy of the City of San Diego)

The building, which is one of the most photographed landmarks in San Diego County, is currently in the midst of a major $21 million renovation project to revitalize the building and the surrounding gardens.

The City of San Diego, along with private partners, set out on the renovation project back in 2016. The building was officially closed off to the public for the renovation last year.

The multi-year renovation is split into two larger phases: first, the building itself and then the surrounding gardens. Currently, the work is in the first phase.

Restoring elements of the original 1915 design is the primary focus of the renovation to the Botanical Building, non-profit city partner Forever Balboa Park CEO Dr. Elizabeth Babcock said to last month.

“The façade was really different,” Babcock said. “When you look at the original picture, it has this beautiful, (maybe) stucco front. A lot of that had been taken away or removed.”

Given the building’s condition, however, city engineers and crews had to bring it down to its bones to conduct an investigation of the structure before any other work could continue, a City’s Engineering & Capital Projects Department spokesperson said in an email.

More about the planned renovation project can be found here.

The original date for completion was estimated to be in December of this year, however the winter storms and need for unanticipated structural repairs extended the end date to next spring.

After the work to the Botanical Building is finished, the building will reopen and Forever Balboa Park will start on renovations to the garden grounds, which is expected to take about a year.