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The Witte Museum

Developer: The Witte Museum

Type of Development: Renovation and expansion of natural history and science museum

Owner: The Witte Museum

Cty and State: San Antonio, TX

Contact Person: Sue Millican

Phone: 210.357.1927

Contact Email: [email protected]

Allocation Amount Requested: $12,000,000

Brief Description of Development:

PROJECT DESCRIPTION:    The NEW WITTE includes a major renovation and expansion of the main museum building (MAIN BUILDING). This 35,000 square foot project includes a new visitor entrance, Valero Great Hall, Dinosaur Gallery and Learning LAB, McLean Family Texas Wild Gallery and Porch Learning LAB and SWBC Animals Alive Learning LAB, People of the Pecos Prehistory galleries, Rock Art and Texas Indian Learning LABS, new museum store, among other renovated areas. The New Witte will also include 12,000 square foot Changing Exhibition and Special Events Center (MAYS CENTER) for blockbuster exhibitions during the summer, and a school entrance pavilion, and be used for special events, both inside and outdoor during the fall, winter and spring.  The MAYS CENTER will be used for large educational experiences, such as Build-It, a showcase for building robots and other innovative engineering projects.   

MAIN BUILDING $36,000,000
MAYS CENTER 13,000,000
TOTAL $58,000,000

The MAIN BUILDING costs includes architect and engineering fees, project management, building construction costs and cost of design, fabrication and installation of the permanent exhibitions.  It also includes significant sitework and landscaping work.   

The MAYS CENTER costs includes architect and engineering fees, project management, and building construction costs and selected landscaping work.

The TRANSFORMATION AND MARKETING costs includes staff ramp up, operational support, marketing and opening costs.

PROJECT FUNDING SOURCES: The funds for the NEW WITTE CAPITAL CAMPAIGN include funds from the City of San Antonio and Bexar County as well contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations.  Approximately fifty-five percent (50%) of the funds have been pledged as of May, 2014.   The project could be divided into two separate projects, the Main building and the Mays Center.  The Witte has raised approximately 60% of the funding for the Mays Center, and expects to have $10 Million raised by the end of August, 2014.  A NMTC financing could provide the additional funds to complete the project and allow the Witte to start construction in the Fall of 2014.   

PROJECT STATUS:   The design development for the buildings has been completed and the construction document phase will began in April, 2014. The architect has issued 50% complete construction documents for review and pricing. The Witte has selected a Construction Manager at Risk and  will execute  the CMAR in June, 2014.  The selected contractor has also been engage to perform pre-construction services to assist with constructability and pricing issues with a goal of having a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract byAugust, 2014.  Construction will begin in September, 2014 and the Mays Center will be completed in late 2015.   

EDUCATION AND COMMUNITY IMPACT:  There are limited opportunities for school aged children to have hands on learning in science and history.  There are interactive educational programs and exhibits that provide the opportunity to learn and experience science and history.
The entire Museum provides an opportunity for learning and the expansion will allows the number of visitors to increase from an average of 350,000 a year to over 500,000 a year.

School-age children:  Increase attendance of school-age children from 150,000 to over 200,000

Educational programs:  Increase the space dedicated to programs by approximately 6,000 sf   
Increase the attendance of education programs from 60,000 to over   100,000
Free Tuesday (FREE GENERAL ADMISSION)   increase the number of visitors who can visit the museum for free from 60,000 to 100,000 a year.

The visitors come almost equidistantly from council districts throughout San Antonio, from every quadrant in Bexar County and from more than 220 counties in Texas. San Antonio has a 21 percent poverty rate, which is not segregated, but is instead spread throughout the City of  San Antonio and all city council districts. The Witte Museum hosts all Title One, or free lunch designated, schools in San Antonio, particularly elementary schools by providing. Substantially all of the Title One schools visits are underwritten by The Witte Museum donors.

Construction Jobs:  350   400 temporary construction jobs

New Witte Job Growth:   10   15 full-time jobs and 20   25 FTEs through the use of part-time positions.   All full-time staff accrue 80 hours(10 days) vacation per year, accrue 12 sick days, receive 10 paid holidays, and have group health/dental (Witte pays 75%) and life insurance (Witte pays 100%).  Health/dental are available for dependents(Witte pays 50%).  All employees who have been employed for one year and 1000 hours of service are eligible to participate in a 401k plan, and the Witte makes an annual contribution of 3% of earnings.  The group health insurance has a wellness component.

But-For Statement:

Without the NMTC financing, the project will be delayed and have a major impact on the ability to complete the entire project.

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