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  • Writer's pictureAmarinda Keys

Three Steps Left Until Opening!

It has been years and years of behind-the-scenes to get us to where we are today. From dreaming up ideas, to hiring partners, designing exhibits, raising money, prototyping programs, hosting listening sessions, purchasing a new building, working with architects and contractors, and so much more, we are so excited to be so close to opening.

We have three steps left before opening! Sounds easy, right?

This is what we have left:

1. Hire the Contractor

We first released our request for bid in August 2022 and went through two rounds without receiving a single bid! Why? Unfortunately, the construction needed requires a lot of stipulations through the USDA for a small company to complete, but the construction needs are a little too small for many bigger companies. Plus, as you probably know, contractors are busy and understaffed these days, making it even more difficult to find someone.

But good news! We are so excited to have found a contractor to do the needed construction. We are working with the company to finalize the scope of work and will be signing the contract in the coming weeks. We are looking forward to knocking down some walls and getting this construction going!

2. Hire the Fabricator

Exhibit fabrication is broken into four sections, based on the four quarters of the year. Our first “batch” of exhibits includes the KV Federal Credit Union Farm Stand, hollow log, forest gateway, and the G&E Roofing Pizza Restaurant. We have received quotes from two fabrication companies so far, and expect to receive a third quote in the coming week. We have already selected a company to complete the fabrication of our first piece, the KV Federal Credit Union Farm Stand, and will be signing our contract with them soon. Installation of this initial piece is slated for May!

3. Raise the Remaining Funds

We are so close to our 1.6mill goal, with just $125,000 left to raise!

We’d love for you to join our fundraising efforts & every dollar counts! The remaining $125,000 raised will go directly into exhibit fabrication, allowing us to build the big beautiful museum exhibit floor we have been dreaming up and designing since 2017.

We also want to take a moment to reflect on the major steps we have taken in the last few years and take a look at the upcoming steps. In 2020, the museum received a loan and grant from the USDA to purchase our building and complete needed renovations. This process has required a lot of work, paperwork and time, but it has allowed us to focus our fundraising efforts on the design and build-out of the exhibit hall. Check out our previous blog post for a look at this process!

Previous steps

November 2020 Purchased 7 Eustis Parkway

September 2021 Hired Architect & contract approved by the USDA

April 2022 90% Construction Documentation submitted to USDA

June 2022 90% Construction Documentation approved

July 2022 Final Document Package submitted to USDA

Fall 2022 Bid Package Released

Winter 2023 Contract with Contractor to complete building construction

Upcoming check points

Submit Application to Increase Funding to USDA (construction costs have increased!)

Complete Construction

Reach Final Fundraising Goal

Fabricate and Install 3/4 of the Exhibit Floor


Fabricate and Install Final 1/4 of the Exhibit Floor

We are so eager to welcome you that the museum plans to complete about 3/4 of the exhibit hall before opening, leaving the remaining construction to be completed after opening. What do you think about this approach? Will you wait until everything is complete or are you excited to take a peek and play, even when there's still more to come?

There are lots of moving parts and people involved in getting this museum open. We are so grateful for all of our community partners and appreciate everyone’s patience. In the meantime, we are committed to providing lots of high-quality play-based fun through our programs and special events. We hope to see you soon!

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