The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh is pursuing a plan to expand into the former Allegheny Regional branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh as it looks to both extend its program offerings and alleviate overcrowding in its current space.
“Plans are not completely set in stone,” says Chris Siefert, the museum’s deputy director. “We’re working with the city and exploring the possibilities to get that building occupied.”
The former library’s proximity to the museum and the museum’s need for more space make the expansion a natural fit.
“We’ve had a significant growth in our attendance. We’re seeing over 250,000 people per year,” Siefert says. “Over the last two or three years, we’ve really noticed pressure on our physical space. This is sort of a continuation of our cultural campus and growing our space.”
According to Siefert, the museum has established an agreement with the city under which it will conduct an engineering assessment of the building to begin evaluating how to bring it up to code, make it more accessible and suitable for use. Constructed between 1886 and 1890, the building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974.
Siefert also says that the museum plans to hold events to “check in with the community” every 90 days to get feedback on what people want and how to best include it in the renovation. The first such event will be held today from 4:30 to 6:30 at the vacant building, and will include guided tours of the first and second floors, as well as opportunities for people to present feedback.
Siefert anticipates the first phase of the project will cost between $5.5 and $7 million, with another $10 to $15 million to insure the location’s financial stability. He says it’s conceivable the space could be ready for the museum to use by mid-2015.
Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Chris Siefert