Mu­seum ren­o­va­tions re­ceive for­mal ap­proval; to be­gin in July

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Hunter McFer­rin Staff Writer hm­c­fer­rin@nwadg.com ■

The city board unan­i­mously ap­proved a con­struc­tion bid that will fund ren­o­va­tions on the Siloam Springs Mu­seum dur­ing its meet­ing Tues­day night.

The bid was pro­vided by the Mar­shall Group and calls for a to­tal of $370,716, with $292,960.40 in con­struc­tion costs and an ad­di­tional $77,755.60 for stor­age ex­penses, mov­ing ex­penses, de­sign costs, site prepa­ra­tion and any un­ex­pected ex­penses that may arise, ac­cord­ing to a staff re­port.

This move is the re­sult of a grad­ual process that be­gan in Jan­uary 2017 fol­low­ing an an­nounce­ment from the Mu­seum Board of Di­rec­tors to the Siloam Springs City Board of Di­rec­tors that they wished to re­main in their cur­rent lo­ca­tion at 112 N. Maxwell St., with the in­ten­tions of re­mod­el­ing the fa­cil­ity. It was not un­til Au­gust 2017 that the Mu­seum Board pre­sented plans and an es­ti­mate for the project, and in De­cem­ber it was de­cided that the fund­ing would be in­cluded in the 2018 bud­get.

Al­though the fund­ing was al­lot­ted as part of this year’s bud­get, it still re­quired for­mal ap­proval, which was not granted un­til Tues­day night. The city opened bids to con­struc­tion man­age­ment agen­cies on June 1. The rea­son the Mar­shall Group was cho­sen to head the project is their es­ti­mated con­struc­tion costs fell just below the orig­i­nal es­ti­mate of $295,000.

While pre­lim­i­nary pa­per­work has al­ready be­gun, the

phys­i­cal con­struc­tion on­site will not be­gin un­til mid to late July and is an­tic­i­pated to take about eight months, said Steve Mar­shall, owner and con­sul­tant for the Mar­shall Group. A pri­mary fo­cus of the ren­o­va­tions will be to max­i­mize the amount of us­able space in or­der to add class­rooms and ro­tat­ing ex­hibits, and will also in­clude open­ing up the ceil­ings of the main floor and the ad­di­tion of a sec­ond floor that will be used for of­fice space, ac­cord­ing to a Jan­uary 2018 re­port from the Her­aldLeader.

The ben­e­fit to adding a sec­ond floor is that it will al­low for a back room in the mu­seum to be used for a class­room, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Hav­ing mul­ti­ple class­rooms is a fo­cus for mu­seum of­fi­cials be­cause they want to have spa­ces where stu­dents who are tour­ing the mu­seum can have dis­cus­sion and re­flec­tion about the ex­hibits they saw with their class­mates and in­struc­tors. Other projects will in­clude strip­ping the car­pet­ing cur­rently in place and in­stead uti­lize the hard­wood floor un­der­neath, as well as a new­ly­de­signed out­door gar­den.

Other items on the board’s agenda for the night in­cluded:

• The ap­proval of a re­quest by the city’s Street De­part­ment to pur­chase a new 2019 Ford F450 flatbed dump truck in the amount of $59,999.

• The ap­proval of an or­di­nance to re­zone a prop­erty lo­cated at 620 Hwy. 16 E. from the zon­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion of C-2 (road­way com­mer­cial) to R-4 (Res­i­den­tial, multi-fam­ily dwelling units).

• The ap­proval of an or­di­nance for the city to con­tinue its prop­erty in­surance cov­er­age with Moss In­surance Agency. Ad­di­tion­ally, due to the preva­lence of wild­fires across the coun­try and oc­cur­rence of three hur­ri­canes that have struck the U.S. re­cently — Har­vey, Irma and Maria — costs for the in­surance in­dus­try and its con­sumers in Siloam Springs are ex­pected to rise by 14.48 per­cent this year, ac­cord­ing to a staff re­port. For that rea­son, the board also de­clared an emer­gency.

• The ap­proval of a res­o­lu­tion to set a hear­ing date for July 17 that will ad­dress a pe­ti­tion filed by the Siloam Springs School Dis­trict to close cer­tain rights of way near the lo­ca­tion of the South­side El­e­men­tary School.

Hunter McFer­rin/Siloam Sun­day

A sign cur­rently posted on the main en­trance to the mu­seum no­ti­fies res­i­dents of its clo­sure due to the re­mod­el­ing project, how they can stay up­dated on its progress and about some events that the mu­seum is putting on over the sum­mer.

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