71: Little Athens Children's Museum Build Out

Project Description from submission form

Little Athens is a 501(c)3 non‐profit established in 2016 with the goal of establishing a children's museum in Athens. Little Athens is currently a mobile museum, providing educational and interactive play experiences to over 1,000 children annually. Currently Little Athens hosts regular pop up events at Georgia Square Mall, and also brings exhibits to community events to engage with children and families. This non‐profit is 100% volunteer run, and has raised more than $20,000 in support from individuals in the Athens community. The next logical step is for Little Athens to build a permanent physical location where children and families can access educational and interactive play every day. 

This project is for the land acquisition, design, and construction of a new approximately 9,000 square foot facility to house the Little Athens Children’s Museum. The current design is a two story floor plan, which includes room for eight exhibits downstairs and a large climbing structure in the center surrounded by an indoor track where children can ride bicycles. Upstairs features birthday party rooms, creative spaces where children can build inventions or create artwork, as well as a music exhibit. The climbing structure allows children to move from downstairs to upstairs on their own, with a large two story slide that can bring them back down. The design also includes stairs, an elevator, and an ADA compliant wheelchair accessible bridge for playing.

Original floor plans for this project were created by E + E Architecture. The design concept was a collaboration between Little Athens board members and architects Katrina and Chris Evans. It features a mini version of well known Athens businesses, providing engagement, education, and entertainment to kids. For example, children can walk into the farmer's market exhibit and learn about where their food comes from. They can then practice harvesting felt vegetables, transport them to the market exhibit, and pretend to sell them to friends and peers. This project also includes the design, fabrication, and installation of the exhibits for the museum. The proposal includes approximately $2.3M for the production and installation of the interactive exhibits. If possible, some of this work may be done locally to reduce expenses, provide local jobs, and connect to local community and resources. Local artists have graciously offered their skills to the project as well.

Little Athens is specifically interested in securing an existing building in Athens to convert into the children's museum, but has not yet finalized a site. Unified Government does not currently have an existing facility that has been designated for this purpose. Should such a facility become available the overall cost of this project could be reduced approximately $6 million dollars.

Estimated Cost:  
SPLOST 2020 Budget
$9,450,000
Estimated Annual Operating Impact
$116,000
Alternate Project Budget
$5,585,000
Alternate Project Estimated Annual Operating Impact
No change

Project Presentation Video

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