Charlotte City Council is set to approve a contract Monday with an architecture group to craft a new master plan for the Discovery Place Science Museum uptown.
The city has selected Jenkins-Peer Architects for the $700,000 contract, which will include a comprehensive review of the facility and recommended improvements. They’ll ultimately create a new master plan and conceptual design for future renovation, expansion and other major changes to the museum at Sixth and North Tryon streets.
The master plan is also expected to analyze how to keep the facility financially sound, and determine a budget for a major overhaul of Discovery Place, which opened in 1981. The process is expected to take about 18 months.
“We scramble to find places to put our people,” Discovery Place CEO Catherine Horne told City Council earlier this year. “Our 1980s building was designed to educate adults with the science and technology of the ’80s and the ’90s...Today, our problem is one of space.”
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Discovery Place wrapped up a $31.6 million renovation in 2010, funded by the city and county. But Horne said the buildings are still confusing, with multiple elevators and lobbies that don’t connect.
“It shouldn’t take a graduate degree in science or geography to get in and out of our buildings,” said Horne. “From a 21st century perspective, our main entrance is not inviting...We’re missing the excitement when you walk up to our building.”
The city-owned museum is one of several publicly controlled sites that local governments hope to renovate as part of the North Tryon Vision Plan, meant to spark a major revitalization of the area that’s lagged South Tryon Street.