The Pratt Museum has issued/published a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project architect. The goal is to have a qualified firm hired and working on concepts for the new building starting this summer. Based on community input, the Board has identified Site Option 2 (the central area) as the first choice and Site Option 3 (the southeast corner) as the second choice for the location of the new building. The Board’s final site decision will be made after completion of a site survey to be conducted this spring.
February – March 2011 Marjorie Scholl, Landscapes: Marjorie Scholl’s much-anticipated solo show explores the dynamic landscapes of Kachemak Bay. In this series of large landscapes, she layers paint and uses subtle shifts in color value to depict the head of the bay to the volcanoes of the Ring of Fire. While there is no substitute for seeing these large (5.75 ft X 4 ft) canvases in person, you can view this special exhibit on line atMarjorie Scholl’s online gallery.
As part of the ongoing capital project planning process, the Pratt hosted a series of three community meetings on November 18, 20 and December 6 to gather input on repurposing possibilities for the current museum building and discussion about the location of the new building. These two issues need to be addressed before the request for proposals for architects can be distributed and schematic design work begins. These three sessions were filled with active discussion by participants who expressed a variety of opinions and suggestions. There was also time allotted for questions and answers about the project.
Repurposing the Existing Building: These discussions produced many ideas for potential uses of the existing facility. Participants were told that the criteria to be used while examining the options include the degree of alignment with the Pratt’s mission and the potential user must be financially self-sustaining. The Pratt can do one capital project (the new building) and cannot take on the expenses of a second full-sized building. Ideas from community members included: Nonprofit office space, theater and performing arts space, Native cultural center, Native art gallery, arts and cultural center, artist studios, convention center, community school, satellite for Native Heritage Center, Arctic Studies Center satellite, space for the Boys and Girls club, science/research center, space for Fireweed Academy, and conversion of the building to a parking garage, greenhouse or boat barn. In the financial sustainability discussion, community members suggested additional ideas for organizations that may have the resources to renovate and maintain the current building: Native corporations; other museums that may want a satellite location; government agencies, such as the Park Service; or the University of Alaska. Groups that do not have a sponsoring organization would need to form a community coalition, or some other kind of entity, to take the project forward and raise the necessary funds.
Location of the New Building: The three general building location options were presented (available here). Option 1 has the new building located in the northwest portion of the Museum property. Main access to the Museum would be from Spruceview Street. Option 2A and 2B shows the new building located in the center of the property, just south of the current shop building. Option 3Aand 3B locates the building between Woodard Creek and Bartlett Street directly south of the current Museum location. Overall, participants favored Options 2 and 3 over Option 1.
Comments on Option 1 included perceived access problems and no view of the building from the street; the building being located too far from the creek; a large impact to the forest trails area; and the large amount of parking lot area that would be viewable from Bartlett Street. It was noted that this option would allow plenty of space for expansion and would have the least street noise.
Option 2 (includes 2A and 2B) locates the building in the center of the property (south of the shop). It was noted that if the current building is repurposed, the new building may not be easily visible from the street. Positive comments on this option included: good parking and access, lower impact on forest trails (than option 1), more room for future expansion (than option 3), more options to “guide” visitors across grounds and into the Museum, and attractive and appealing landscaping possibilities. Negative comments included: The view of the new building may be blocked by parking/boat barn/old building, interfering with the visual impact of the new building, and the large amount of forested area that would have to be cleared to accommodate the building. There is a substantial increase in the amount of parking needed, if the old building is kept, to accommodate the needs of two buildings with active programs.
Option 3 (includes 3A and 3B) shows the new building on a small knoll between Woodard Creek and Bartlett Street directly south of the current museum location. The Homestead Cabin would be moved to a new location on the grounds. Some participants noted that this location may only be viable if the current building is removed or converted to the boat barn (a smaller facility), due to the need to consider space for future expansion of the Museum and the narrowness of the available building area. Positive comments included: good drainage, good street presence, the “wow” factor due to visibility from both Bartlett Street and Pioneer Avenue, and the potential for an unobstructed view of the Bay.
Site Considerations: Discussion in the meetings also included soils, drainage, and the amount of setback needed if the section of Woodard Creek on museum property is day lighted. If the existing building is kept and the Creek is opened up, the back office area would need to be removed to create more distance from the Creek. The impact of street noise was discussed in relation to the quality of experience of visitors, on the grounds and within the buildings. Some participants also seemed to feel that having the boat barn be the first thing that visitors saw as they entered the grounds was not ideal. Access for large RVs, buses and delivery trucks was discussed, along with the need for handicapped parking close to the building. Parking and access on some of the site concept drawings need to be adjusted.
We encourage you to continue send your suggestions though email, mail, or personal visit. We’ll be looking for public input on the repurposing ideas and new building location at least through February 2011. Meanwhile, we will be following up on the repurposing ideas that could meet the outlined criteria of mission alignment and financial sustainability.
Another community meeting is scheduled to be held at the Homer Council on the Arts on January 19, to further discuss the idea of repurposing the building as an arts and cultural center.
Additional meetings may be scheduled on particular topics These will be announced in the newspapers, on the radio, here on the web site, and by email.
Stay tuned! There’s more to come. . .
Few places in the world experience the tidal extremes that occur in the waters of Kachemak Bay. Twenty-two foot high tides are contrasted with minus-five foot low tidal exchanges. Whether clamming at low tide, boating safely home at high tide, or repairing a boat hull on the harbor’s dry dock, local community members need to have knowledge of the tides. Living by the Tides explores the way local identities are shaped by the forces of a dramatic, ever-changing tide.
We invite you to join us in the continuing conversation and planning for the Pratt Museum’s Capital Project. This fall we will have several opportunities for community members to share ideas on repurposing possibilities for the existing building and to provide input on the location of the new building. We will be starting off with an engaging session in mid-October where you can come in and share your thoughts or feelings about what is important to you in a museum.
As always, if you are unable to come to a meeting you can email your comments or mail them to Pratt Museum, 3779 Bartlett Street, Homer, AK 99603.
What is a Museum? Thursday, October 14th, 5:30 to 7:00pm. At this informal community conversation participants will have an opportunity to share ideas of what is important to you about museums. What inspires you? What ignites your curiosity or your desire to learn more? How can a museum best serve its community? What types of events or exhibits are most interesting to you?
Repurposing the Existing Building Thursday, November 18th, 5 to 6:30pm. This is an opportunity to explore the potential for different uses by the community or other organizations of part or all of the existing building that would also align with the Pratt’s mission.
Repurposing the Existing Building/ Location of the New Building Saturday, November 20th, 3 to 5pm. See descriptions above and below.
Location of the New Building Monday, December 6th, 12pm to 1:30pm. We will be examining three primary options for locating the new museum and gathering your thoughts on the pros and cons of each.
Planning for the capital project continues, and we are preparing for another community meeting to discuss a number of development options. To facilitate this discussion, the Pratt Museum’s pre-development architect has rendered five options for placement of the new building on the Museum’s 9.3 acres of property. These options will be discussed at a community meeting scheduled for this Fall, which will be announced publicly on this site and in the media. To send us your comments, contactDiane Converse . Click on the thumbnails below to see a full-sized image of each option. Click Here for a one page comparison of all options.
Option 1A – New construction on NW portion of property. The existing build is reused by other organizations, and adequate parking is provided for both facilities. A boathouse is added near the existing shop.
Option 2A – New construction in the central portion of the property. The existing building is removed and a boathouse is constructed on the site of the old building reusing the foundations and salvaged materials.
Option 2B – New construction located in central area of property and the existing building repurposed. Parking is expanded to accommodate both facilities. A boathouse is located to the SE of the new museum building.
Option 3A – New construction is located on SE of property. The original building is removed and replaced with parking. A boathouse is located near the current shop.
Option 3B – New construction is located on SE of property. The existing building is removed and a boathouse is constructed on the site of the old building reusing the foundations and salvaged materials. Parking area is minimized.
We are pleased to announce that the Pratt Museum is taking the next step in our capital project as we near the conclusion of the conceptual design phase. The recent focus of the conceptual process involved the Pratt looking at whether renovating the existing building or building a new one would best serve community and Museum needs. For economic reasons and to best care for and share our collections, the Board has decided to support the new construction option. Responding to suggestions from the community, and recognizing that the existing building could serve other purposes, the Board also directed staff to examine the feasibility of repurposing the existing building. Primary reasons for the decision include:
Better conservation of and access to the collections. With a new building, collections storage, conservation space, and exhibit space will be designed to museum industry standards; we will gain more space through standard-height museum ceilings in addition to the square footage. Flexibility in operations and longer-term expansion potential to better serve the community. Museums are more dynamic than they used to be: We can create a place that responds to community needs with education and gathering spaces, use of new technology, and the ability to grow. Lower utility costs. The new construction option will be about 2,000 square feet less in area than the renovated and expanded building option would be, to achieve the same design goals, because of design efficiencies. New mechanical systems designed for the space should result in more efficient energy use and smaller relative costs. Longer overall building life. New construction is expected to last longer (50 years versus 30 years for renovation), resulting in a lower overall project cost. The conceptual phase of the capital project will be wrapped up this Spring; we expect to begin design later this year. This continues the process that was started nearly 10 years ago when the need for major upgrades to the Museum was recognized. The next few years will be busy ones, as we engage in the building design process and flesh out the plans for our 9.3-acre site. At the same time, the leadership gift phase of the fundraising effort will continue. The goal is to begin construction in 2014, depending on fundraising progress. Based on a 2009 fundraising feasibility study, the Pratt is working with an $8.5 million budget. Of this amount, $1.7 million has already been committed. We encourage you to engage in this process and share your ideas and comments as we proceed. Watch our website (www.prattmuseum.org) for updates and opportunities to participate as we move through the exciting planning and design process ahead.
More Information on the Project LINKS:
Building Condition Report | A complete survey of the condition of the museum building.Museum Exhibit Plan | Master exhibit plan that guides our future exhibit development. Accessibility Survey 2006 | Assessment of the current handicap accessibility of museum facilities.
The success of this process relies on broad community involvement. If this project is something you’d like to be involved in, please contact us. Pratt Museum, Capital Campaign 3779 Bartlett Street Homer, Alaska 99603 Phone: 907 235-8635 Fax: 907-235-2764 Michele Miller, Director Of Development | Email. Capital project planning at the Pratt Museum is generously funded by the Patrons Of the Pratt Society, the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Rasmuson Foundation and the Foraker Group Pre-development program.
The Pratt Museum was awarded a $750,000 challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in December 2009 to support its upcoming capital project. This prestigious grant requires the Museum to match the award amount on a 3 to 1 basis. To receive the entire award amount, the museum will need to raise $2.25 million from non-federal-government sources. The grant is to be used to expand, preserve, interpret and share the Pratt humanities collections through its capital project. The funds cannot be used to cover annual operations expenses (salaries, utility costs, or office supplies). The planned museum growth will provide for good stewardship of the Museum’s collections, expand the research and conservation areas, complete Phase 2 of the Master Exhibit Plan, and improve educational programming for the 4,000 students that visit the Pratt each year. With the support of the community, private donors, local government agencies, and private foundations, we look forward to meeting this challenge and improving facilities and programming at the museum!