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Pratt Museum Board Votes on its $8.5 Million Capital Project


New Construction Has Unanimous Support

HOMER - The Pratt Museum Board voted unanimously this afternoon to construct a new building on its 9.3 acre site. After consulting with the community - soliciting comments and feedback - and examining the pros and cons of renovating and expanding the current building versus constructing a new building, the Board made its decision this afternoon.

The Board agreed that a new building is the best way to achieve the goals of the capital project.

"The Board's decision to build new reflects a majority of comments that the community had articulated at two special community meetings held in Homer the end of last month, as well as other meetings held throughout the region," said Diane Converse, Museum Director/CEO. "Staff, Patrons of the Pratt Society and the Board of Directors have been analyzing and discussing the new construction option for several months. This process culminated in the special community meetings at the end of March. We're very excited about the decision the Board has made today.

"The Pratt Museum is located in a 10,500 square foot building that is 43 years old and in need of major repair and equipment upgrades. While constructing a new building is a priority," she said, "we will, over the next several years, be working within the community to figure out how to use the existing structure for another purpose. Part of the Board's direction was to analyze the feasibility of repurposing the building, or a portion of it.

"The capital project will transform the visitor experience and enable the Pratt to serve its community and visitors long into the future. Goals of the project, developed through community visioning, include:

• Dedicated education program and community gathering space
• Implementation of the final phase of the Museum's Master Exhibit Plan
• Site redesign to expand outdoor exhibits and fully integrate the Museum into its 9.3-acre green space
• Expanded collections storage space with state-of-the-art environmental controls
• Creation of back-of-house support space for research, collections conservation, and exhibit preparation
• Full Americans with Disability Act compliance
• Increased building system efficiency for long-term cost savings Recipient of the National Award for Museum Service, the country's highest honor for museums, the Pratt is one of only five nationally-accredited museums in Alaska.

The Pratt Museum is dedicated to the process of education by exploring the natural environment and human experience relative to the Kachemak Bay region of Alaska and its place in the world. The Museum seeks to inspire self-reflection and dialogue in its community and visitors through exhibitions, programs, and collections in the arts, sciences, and humanities.

Each year, the Pratt serves more than 35,000 visitors and engages more than 4,000 learners in its education programs. The Museum creates about $1 million of annual economic activity in the region.

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