::NC Museum Of Art Expansion Begins
By Elliott West, Raleigh Chronicle News Editor
Thursday, April 5, 2007
RALEIGH - The giant gaping hole in front of the NC Museum of Art is not some new modern art exhibit. The massive construction area is the location of a new 127,000 facility that will house permanent collections of art.
Crews with backhoes and other excavation equipment can be seen digging down into the ground about 20 feet to prepare for pouring foundations and underground utilities.
The new facility was originally planned to be located next to the wooded art park area of the 164 acre art museum complex but according to one worker at the museum, there were concerns about soil composition in that area.
As such, the expansion was relocated to the front of the museum near Blue Ridge Road.
The new area will not be able to take advantage of the existing natural landscape, but trees and other landscaping will be added after construction is finished.
The circle drive in front of the Museum has been removed to make way for the new additions.
According to the NC Museum of Art, the new facilities will house some well known works of art that will be on display permanently including sculptures by Auguste Rodin.
When finished in late 2008, the facility will include 65,000 square feet of exhibit space, a central gallery of around 11,500 square feet, amenities such as a gallery shop and cafe with 9,242 square feet of space, and an entry courtyard with 5,650 square feet of space.
The building will be uniquely designed and will feature glass walls and stainless steel panels when finished, says the museum. The new addition will be a flowing single story structure, but the building will be 26 feet high with interior ceilings at 16 feet.
The main architects for the project are Thomas Phifer and Partners of New York.
According to the museum, the entire project will cost around $138 million and will include a refurbishment of the original art galleries as well in the Stone building, the main building for the art museum.
The museum says it has raised $78 million to date toward this financial goal, including an appropriation of $52.2 million from the North Carolina State Legislature and $15 million in funding from the City of Raleigh and Wake County.
In December 2006 the museum officially broke ground for the project, and the new building is scheduled to open to the public in 2009.
The NC Museum of Art was created by the State of North Carolina. ::