The Fresno Met Will Rise Again

April 3, 2008 8:01:25 PM PDT
Nearly three years into the renovation, Fresno's Met is one big step closer to opening.After hitting a fundraising wall this past summer, the walls around the new Met are finally coming down. As part of a 28-million dollar museum renovation, two additions to the old Fresno Bee are being cleared to make room for a green space almost as big as a football field. Fresno Met Assistant Director Erica Nishinaka Lacey said: "We are taking the original 1922 building and restoring its original footprint."

The museum also said its saving green and being green by recycling steel and chunks of concrete from the demolition site. 95 percent of the debris will be recycled. A much needed savings when it comes to this financially challenged project. When the renovation first began back in September of 2005, total cost was an estimated 14 million dollars. But nearly three years later, that cost has doubled. However, museum officials said a 15 million dollar loan co-signed by the City of Fresno breathed new life into the project.

Since that loan last summer, even local students pitched in, helping to raise more than three and a half million dollars in private donations. Met Marketing Director Candice Pendergrass said: "I think what we saw was a lot of people didn't realize the kind of situation that we were in. So, when we ended up going to the city, a lot of people stepped in and provided support for us in cash donations and pledges and things." Parents with school children touring the temporary home of the Met said while it's been a long time coming the new museum will be worth the money and the wait. Parent Beatris Victoria said:"It's a good investment for the children. It's a good way for them to be learning other than in the classroom. It'll be other ways for them to see other things." The new Fresno Met is now on schedule to open in November.


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