Expansion planned for the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 4:29 PM EDT
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ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The pandemic isn’t slowing down progress at the Fairbanks Museum and planetarium in St. Johnsbury. In fact, the museum is embarking on its first expansion project in 125 years.

Adam Kane, executive director of the museum, says that the pandemic has not deterred them from moving forward with the project. “It makes sense now, for all the same reasons that it made sense a year or two years ago,” Kane said.

They’re adding a six-thousand square-foot timber building to the existing structure. The building itself will be a teaching tool. It will be made of wood and will capture carbon out of the air, which will then be used for educational purposes. The new building will also house other exhibits. To add to this, the expansion won’t actually be taking place in front of the building, the additions will be put in behind the building.

“What you see when you drive past it, we always want that to be the way it is now, so the expansion will be kind of, you know hidden away a little bit, Kane said. He also says there is work to do in the current building. “There are significant parts of the Fairbanks Museum that are not handicap accessible, so that’s a baseline thing that we want to take care of.”

The cost of the project is estimated at $2.5 million dollars. The museum has raised over $600,000 in the past two years for it. They are also applying for a $2 million federal grant to help pay for it.

St. Johnsbury Town Manager says the museum has always played an active role in supporting the town, and that has earned them the support of the local area. “They always play a very responsible role for the town," he said, "and they’re always looking to improve things here for our community, and I haven’t seen anything but support coming from, the community back to them.”

If everything goes according to their timeline, Kane hopes to put out bids for construction by December.

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