Children’s Museum seeking public comment as they search for new home

The Children’s Museum of Montana is seeking public comment as they seek a new home.

According to the museum, they want to hear about how the new facility can best serve the community.

The museum is hosting a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. April 16 at the museum and the public is invited.

City approves five-year lease agreement for Children’s Museum

The museum is also accepting written comments through May 15.

For questions or concerns, call 452-6661 or mail comments to CMOM, 22 Railroad Square, Great Falls, 59401, or email to museuminfo.cmom@gmail.com.

“Our design plan to date is to reflect Montana’s rich history in permanent, exhibits, educational needs in revolving exhibits and aesthetics with native rocks, plants and animals,” according to a museum release. “We plan to design a ‘net-zero’ building that would create as much energy as it would use, then put exhibits in to teach how we did it.”

Children’s Museum lease likely to be renewed for five years; museum looking for new home

The museum’s current building is owned by the city.

In January, the City Commission approved another five years for the lease at the same $1 annual rent.

Children’s Museum launches fundraising campaign for new building

The museum has leased the space since September 1997, according to city records, and on Dec. 2, 2003, the commission approved at 15-year lease that included an automatic five-year renewal. The original lease required the museum to pay all utility costs, maintenance and repairs of the building and its systems.

Last summer, the museum launched a $3.5 million fundraising campaign to purchase, renovate and relocate to a new building.

Over the years, city departments have been running out of space in the Civic Center and the Municipal Court has been asking for a second judge to help handle the heavy case load. With another judge comes the need for additional courtroom space, which is currently unavailable in the building. In several meetings, the legal staff has discussed the need for more staff and more space. Currently, the legal department is spread in various offices throughout the Civic Center.

The planning department is also spread on various levels of the building.

The city retained the services of an architect to rework space in the Gibson Room and renovate the office areas for the legal and human resources departments.

Commissioners rejected use of the Gibson Room and “there are no other areas within the building that could be feasibly renovated without encroaching into the Gibson or Missouri Rooms or the Convention Center,” according to the staff report.

City staff looks at options for turning Missouri Room into office space at Great Falls Civic Center

The building currently occupied by CMOM “is needed to provide additional office space for city administration. Use of the building makes sense because the city already owns it and it is located adjacent to the city’s administrative center/campus,” according to the staff report. Use of the building “also allows the city to address space needs without additional encroachment of other commonly used areas in the Civic Center and eliminates the need to build an addition.”