Marbles Kids Museum Announces Expansion
207 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh is adjacent to the museum’s central courtyard.
Photo courtesy of Marbles Kids Museum
Marbles Kids Museum, which will celebrate its 10th birthday Sept. 29, recently announced its first step toward expansion with the purchase of the former Longleaf School of the Arts at 207 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh, adjacent to the museum’s central courtyard.
While new construction on the Marbles campus is still years out and corresponding fundraising efforts are just getting underway, the museum was presented a window of opportunity to purchase the adjacent building now, after Longleaf vacated the space for a larger building to accommodate more students.
Marbles purchased the building from MDO Holdings, whose CEO Michael D. Olander Jr. made the building available to Marbles for $3.1 million, a significant discount to offers from other parties. Olander said, “We knew this property was critical for the growth of one of downtown’s best assets, Marbles Kids Museum, and we believe in their vision and mission of children learning through play. We’ve been happy to work with their leadership and board over the past few months to ensure the deal worked for all involved.”
Ongoing growth in visitation is fueling the need for expansion at Marbles, which ranks among the top 10 family destinations in North Carolina. According to Marbles CEO Sally Edwards, “The number one comment we hear from our guests is that we need to grow – more exhibits, a larger lobby and added space for family programs. Our camps and educational field trips are at capacity, and new programming is impossible during peak periods.”
New construction is not expected to begin until 2020. Until then, repairs and renovations to the former school building are being estimated and options for its immediate use are under evaluation. In the interim, Marbles plans to address community input by renovating two existing exhibits and creating space for new exhibits on the second floor.
For more information, visit marbleskidsmuseum.org.
Source: Marbles Kids Museum