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Planning ongoing for new Dubois museum

Jun 24, 2012 - By Joshua Scheer, Staff Writer

Lander architect Mike Quinn presented preliminary drawings of a new Dubois museum building on June 14 to the Fremont County Museums Board and Dubois Museum/Wind River Historical Center director Katrina Krupicka.

Board chairman Tom Duncan during the museums board meeetng in Riverton called the drawings "pre-preliminary."

The process of designing a new museum for Dubois began last October when the Fremont County Commission allocated $125,000 to develop biddable documents, Krupicka said in a follow-up interview.

Lack of state-of-the-art storage space is part of what's driving the need for a new facility.

"We're projecting a smaller building than at Lander, with a similar profile," Duncan said.

The drawings Quinn presented depict the new Dubois building on the current museum property on Main Street and running the length of Stalnaker Street.

Due to elevation changes from one end to the other, which Quinn said is about a 6-foot difference, the approximately 14,000-square-foot museum will essentially be on three levels.

The entry and lobby will be on one level, with stairs leading up and down to the other two levels.

Quinn said there would be a 12-foot, 8-inch difference between the upper and lower levels.

The upper level will consist of display space, administrative offices, storage, an archive room and a research room.

The lower level will house another display area, more storage and a carpentry shop. Also on the bottom floor is a receiving area for large items with a lift that can move them to the upper level.

Krupicka asked for a window to be removed from the carpentry shop.

On the upper level, the administrative offices were designed to be on the Stalnaker side of the building, but Krupicka wanted it switched to the other side. The move would be for safety purposes in overlooking the historical buildings's courtyard, a couple of which will be moved for this project.

Board member Butch Tonkin asked if there would be a conference room to hold meetings.

Krupicka said she wants to the research room to be multipurpose, and it would be about the same size as the room the board meets in at Dubois Town Hall. She plans to also use the room for day-camp activities for children.

Board member Steve Banks asked if the beams in the current museum could be utilized in the new building.

"We'd like to use them, salvage them some how," Quinn said.

He also told the board the low-slope roof would allow for maximum use of solar panels.

There was talk of different materials for construction use, whether or not to pursue Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification and the building's exterior design.

"We really need it to fit into the look of the rest of the structures on Main Street," Krupicka said.

Need and future

In a follow-up interview, Kru-picka said there is a need for new space.

By general museum standards, she said, usually about 20 percent of an organization's artifacts are on display. That allows for artifact rotation, which is good in sheltering items from the elements as well as keep exhibits fresh for the public, she said.

Dubois is currently forced to keep 80 percent on display.

"We literally do not have the storage," she said, adding the current building isn't insulated as much as needed.

The next step is to turn Quinn's drawings into biddable construction documents.

Construction is estimated to cost $2.5 million to $3 million, Krupicka said.

"The county has committed a million (dollars) toward that," she said.

A timeline for construction and fundraising has not yet been set.

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