Archive for Thursday, August 31, 2006

Prison museum cost estimated at $3.04 million

August 31, 2006

Members of the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum board of directors have updated architect's renderings of the proposed museum and a rough cost estimate for its completion: $3.04 million.

Bill Johnson, an architect and chairperson of the board's infrastructure committee, shared the drawings and his estimate with other members of the board during a meeting Wednesday afternoon at The Overlook restaurant.

"I probably haven't totaled everything, No. 1," Johnson said as he passed around a sheet with the estimated costs. "I haven't allowed for inflation, and if you build it in three years from now instead of next year, it's going be more expensive. And I haven't allowed for how much you can save with prison labor."

As presented to board members Wednesday, the museum complex would have three buildings - a gift shop, a large meeting room and the museum itself. The complex also would have a memorial to corrections officers killed in the line of duty and three guard towers, all surrounded by a 12- to 14-foot high rock fence built to mimic the exterior of the Lansing Correctional Facility, which would be just to the west of the proposed museum grounds.

During a break in the lunch-hour meeting, Mayor Kenneth Bernard, who chairs the committee, praised Johnson's work and said it was time to begin seeking grants to build the museum now that the committee had something to show off.

"I think that's the way to go," Bernard said. "There's no use asking for money without having some plans."

Bernard told the board members he had recently spoken with officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the possibility of landing a grant to build the museum. Officials told him the USDA only had about $170,000 annually to award in such grants.

A better plan, they said, might be to seek grants through an educational component to the museum.

"There may be more money offered along the educational track than the museum track," Bernard said.

Board members agreed to solicit consultants with Project Explore, who have already conducted a feasibility study of the museum, to see how much they would charge to look into an educational component for the museum.

Members also agreed to develop a Web site for the museum with the help of CivicPlus, which set up the city's Web site.

Shanae Randolph, the city's director of economic development/convention and visitors bureau, said the site would be hosted by the city's current site but would appear online as a site of its own.

Cost to develop the Web site was put at $1,250.

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