ART AND CHILDREN’S MUSEUM GROUNDBREAKING
When: 5:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Intersection of Grand Avenue and Flora Street.
Activities: Food and music, kids’ craft tables, information tables about the project.
More Information: Bellingham Whatcom Public Facilities District, 738-7451 or www.bwpfd.org.
Museum design: See an artist’s rendering of the new museum with this story at TheBellinghamHerald.com.
Thursday event is planned for the whole family
MARY LANE GALLAGHER -THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
BELLINGHAM – Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new art and children’s museum will include a family style block party.
Work will probably begin next week on the art gallery and children’s museum at the corner of Grand Avenue and Flora Street.
The $11.2 million construction project is a cornerstone of the Bellingham Whatcom Public Facilities District, which receives a small portion of sales tax revenue to buy bonds to fund major cultural projects.
The district is also funding a major renovation of Mount Baker Theatre.
Thursday’s event will include speeches, food from downtown business and music by the Atlantics; the Children’s Museum will provide a craft table for kids.
The section of Flora Street next to the museum will be blocked off for the event, and the festivities will take up the street and adjacent alley.
“It’s kind of like a block party, family style,” said Patricia Decker, manager of the district.
The groundbreaking also marks the end of nearly five years of work to find the side, design the building and put together a funding plan to get the museum built.
The 42,700-square-foot building will be financed with a combination of bonds repaid with sales tax revenue and private fundraising efforts by Campaign for the Arts and the What-com Museum Society.
The city is putting up “gap financing” to get construction going, which is to be repaid by the private contributions.
It’s also backing the bonds in case sales tax revenues aren’t enough to repay them.
The building, expected to open in spring 2009, will be an addition to the Whatcom Museum of History and Art.
It will house the museum’s art collection and children’s museum. The museum’s current main building, the 1892 City Hall, will be devoted to history.
The new building will include an outdoor courtyard, café and gift shop.
The building’s most prominent feature will be a curved translucent glass wall 33 feet high that will bring light into the building and emanate light into the courtyard at night.
The district hopes to give Ebenal General Construction Inc. the go-ahead to begin work next week, Decker said.
The first job will probably be dismantling with current building she said, while recycling as much material as possible.
Reach Mary Lane Gallagher at 715-22785 or firstname.lastname@example.org.