Costs increase, work accelerates to move and improve museum
The cost to relocate and reinvent the Lake County Discovery Museum has increased $350,000, or by more than 20 percent, as work involving exhibits and other elements progresses.
"We're getting to the much more detailed parts of the exhibits instead of the concepts," said Nan Buckardt, education director for the Lake County Forest Preserve District, which has operated the museum since the 1970s.
That addition will bring the budget for the museum relocation from the Lakewood Forest Preserve near Wauconda to the district's general offices on Winchester Road in Libertyville to nearly $2 million.
The overage would come from a museum grant fund comprised of undesignated museum donations and proceeds from a 2000 capital campaign. The transfer request will be considered Tuesday at 10 a.m. by the full forest board at its regular meeting in Waukegan.
After it received word two years ago that a state grant for museum work had been suspended, plans were revised and a $1.6 million budget assigned. Concepts for the new and improved museum have been endorsed by commissioners, but a funding gap surfaced when the true costs for components were taken into consideration.
"It's money the district has held and grown over the years for the sole purpose of museum operations," explained Andrew Osborne, superintendent of education facilities. He said there wasn't one element that contributed to the increase but it is a compilation of many things, including exhibits and projects involving the building itself.
"We had to add some things we weren't certain of before," Buckardt said. "It's design driven, not budget driven," she added.
District officials say relocating the museum was part of the plan in 2010 when the former Motorola office in Libertyville was purchased. The museum at Lakewood closed Sept. 1 and is expected to reopen late this year.
The forest board Tuesday also will vote on a name change to the "Bess Bower Dunn Museum of Lake County" in honor of Dunn, who worked to preserve, document and promote Lake County history before her death in 1959.
Work has accelerated, with demolition about to begin. A specialized storage system for the museum collection is pending, as is the renovation of the building's front entrance.
"It's the type of project the month-to-month progress is significant," Osborne said.
On Friday, the prototype framework for a full-scale wigwam, which will be used as a classroom and interactive educational element, was built to see how it would fit in the future museum space.
Also coming is a hippopotamus-sized, full-scale model of a dryptosaurus, which was thought to live in the area at one time. The model will be the only one of its kind and introduce visitors on the ancient history of Lake County, Buckardt said.