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Museum Education Center Plans Hit Snag

Projected costs have more than doubled the original estimate of $450,000.

Plans for a proposed 2,600-square-foot Education Center adjacent to the Gilb Museum of Arcadia Heritage are on hold for now. Projected costs for the museum's construction have more than doubled from the original estimate of $450,000 to $1.16 million.

Officials say the original estimate likely only accounted for simple construction costs, without taking into account design costs, building amenities and other expenses.

While the Museum's supporters have already raised the original targeted amount of $450,000 for the building, Mayor Bob Harbicht says the city won't cover the remaining cost. The city will oversee the construction and operation of the building, however.

"It wasn't our idea to have the building in the first place," Harbicht said. "This is not the highest priority for me. But if someone's willing the raise the money and pay for it, fine."

There is a glimmer of hope, however.

Harbicht said Monrovia-based Bowden Development may be able to design and build the Education Center for around $500,000. While Arcadia does not currently allow design/build contracts, that will soon change; city officials say they plan to pass an ordinance changing this policy in the coming months.

Officials from the Museum or Bowden Development could not be reached for comment.

The Arcadia Historical Museum Commission first conceived of the education center in 2006, when it became apparent the Gilb Museum simply did not have the space to accommodate the programs curators had developed.

The center would be nestled between the Gilb Museum and the community center, and feature one large lecture hall that can be divided into three separate classrooms, each equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment.

The center will also have a gallery that runs the length of the building, a modified kitchen area, restrooms and storage, along with a sheltered portico at the front for future fundraiser events.

Patch will continue following this story and posting updates on the Education Center.

Steve Pelletier December 01, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Natalie Ragus, you can find contact information for a representative from the Museum Foundation at http://arcadiamuseum-fdn.org/

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