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Greater Vernon Museum expansion hinges on engineering

The Greater Vernon Museum wants proof that abandoning dreams of a new building makes sense.

The museum board has tentatively approved a plan by the City of Vernon to expand the current structure instead of pursuing a new facility.

“We’ve endorsed it subject to the existing building handling such a renovation,” said Ian Hawes, president.

“Can we get what we need and will it last 40 to 45 years?”

City staff recently suggested the preferred option for addressing a lack of space is an expansion.

Museum officials at the time expressed reservations  about whether there is enough land available for a 30,000-square-foot building and if 16-foot high ceilings and climate control can be incorporated.

Hawes admits there are still reservations but his board is now willing to consider the city’s concept.

“Our goal is to get a museum that fits the needs of Vernon for years to come and if we can do that with the existing site, we will look at it,” he said.

Hawes expects the viability of the current building can only be determined through engineering and architectural studies.

“If the  building can’t take a renovation, we will have to go from there,” he said.

“It also has to make financial sense. It may cost more to renovate than to build new. Anyone who has renovated a house knows that is possible.”

A stand-alone museum could cost up to $10 million while no figures for an expansion have yet been determined.

While the city has put forward the renovation option, the ultimate decision on the future space requirements of the museum rest with the Greater Vernon Advisory Committee.

Hawes isn’t sure what approach the regional politicians will take.

“We will get on the GVAC meeting agenda for February and we will talk to staff behind the scenes and begin the process,” he said.

 

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