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5. The Hands On Children's Museum

The new Museum on East Bay is a premier cultural attraction at the center of a 14-acre environmental cleanup and redevelopment project. The first LEED certified Children's Museum in the Northwest, it boasts an innovative methane co-generation heating system shared with the LOTT utility next door, advanced mechanical design, salvaged materials, and native plantings irrigated with reclaimed water, to name a few. Opening Fall 2012 to welcome kids of all ages!
5. The Hands On Children's Museum

General Contractor Berschauer-Phillips Construction Mechanical Design: Sunset Air

The new Museum on East Bay is a premier cultural attraction at the center of a 14-acre environmental cleanup and redevelopment project. The first LEED certified Children's Museum in the Northwest, it boasts an innovative methane co-generation heating system shared with the LOTT utility next door, advanced mechanical design, salvaged materials, and native plantings irrigated with reclaimed water, to name a few. Opening Fall 2012 to welcome kids of all ages!

 

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The New Hands On Children’s Museum on East Bay will be a premier education and cultural destination for the South Puget Sound attracting more than 200,000 visitors annually including tens of thousands of underserved children and their families from the entire Southwest Washington region. Consistently voted A Best Place,” for children and families, Hands On was formed in 1987 as a fledgling start-up and now serves more visitors for its size than any other regional youth museum. As a result of its popularity, the Museum has outgrown its space three times in the past 15 years and will move into its permanent home on East Bay in the fall of 2012.

Hands On is known for its commitment to seek creative solutions to solve community problems, collaborate with non-traditional partners, and expand access to underserved families. Since the project's inception, we imagined an innovative new children's museum concept that would integrate the best practices in early learning, with the arts, sciences, and the natural environment. The Museum has maintained a commitment to a green vision through construction, exhibits, education programs and operations. This commitment exemplifies the values of our region’s history which are inextricably linked to the Northwest’s precious natural resources. The New Museum provides an exciting opportunity to deepen this commitment by designing educational experiences that foster a sense of environmental stewardship.

As the first LEED certified Children's Museum in the Northwest, and the first to win Green Globes certification in the nation, the New Museum is the centerpiece in a cluster of novel environmental partnerships and through a Thurston County grant, the building will serve as a teaching tool of green practices. The facility will demonstrate an innovative co-generation project with the LOTT Clean Water utility to capture waste methane gas to heat and cool the new Museum, providing very low cost energy while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The building will use reclaimed water, reclaimed materials, native plantings, alternative energy, and waste reduction and recycling methods. This commitment to model a new type of children’s museum won recognition as a Promising Practice from the MetLife Foundation and the Association of Children’s Museums in 2010.

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As the most significant revitalization project in the City of Olympia in nearly 18 years, the Museum will serve as the anchor project in a 14-acre brown field redevelopment effort on Olympia’s East Bay waterfront that includes a new Public Plaza, a new Water Education Center, mixed-use development and waterfront walking trails connecting visitors to the Farmer’s Market and downtown Olympia. The project represents an innovative public/private partnership between multiple agencies including the South Sound’s three largest cities, Thurston County, the Port of Olympia and the LOTT Clean Water Alliance.  The regional Museum will be ideally located on two acres adjacent to Budd Inlet’s East Bay, and will include a 28,000 sq/ft wood-frame facility, 30,000 sq/ft outdoor learning space, a 5,000 sq/ft future expansion area and an 83-stall parking lot.

The Museum’s new Outdoor Learning Center and Children’s Garden will give the South Puget Sound a unique feature not offered at any other Washington State children’s museum. The Outdoor Discovery will offer a half acre of exhibits including a 130-foot water feature and wetland, driftwood fort construction, a historic tug, a storytelling fire ring, native canoe carving, an outdoor art studio, look-out towers, a sand dig, and children's gardens. The design is based on recent research that demonstrates that the outdoors can help a child’s mental, emotional and physical well-being, while promoting important brain development and enhancing learning. Mounting research has linked the dramatic shift away from outdoor childhood play to a range of contemporary childhood problems including obesity, depression and attention problems. The facility and grounds are designed to be a preferred site for special events, after-hour parties and family reunions, and will provide a more effective venue for the Museum’s signature event Sand in the City, which attracts nearly 50,000 visitors to Olympia’s waterfront.

Washington State’s most iconic companies and businesses throughout the South Sound are contributing to the success of this project. Construction is led by Berschauer Phillips with support from Sunrise Construction. The Weyerhaeuser Company donated Northwest harvested, sustainable timbers to build the building, while a family timber business donated scrap cedar strips that are being re-purposed for the siding.  Simpson donated all of the wood doors throughout the facility. Christopherson Wood Floors is using rustic maple scrap to create a one of a kind wood floor. Green flooring leaders such as Forbo, Interface and Shaw have contributed green flooring products to showcase in the facility. Thanks to the many contributions of the East Bay development, the Museum was named 2009 Non-Profit of the Year by the Thurston County Economic Development Council.

The Museum’s mission is to stimulate curiosity, creativity and learning for children, families and school groups. To that end, we provide exciting, hands-on exhibits in five galleries for children aged birth through 10 years, covering a variety of topics including early learning, construction and design, healthy lifestyles, the environment, and the arts. At Hands On we believe that all children deserve respect and the opportunity to learn, regardless of their ability to pay. We also know that quality early learning experiences are inextricably linked to a child’s future success in school and in life. Nearly half of all visitors served-- about 75,000--receive free or reduced admission and education programs--the largest access program of any similar museum in the Puget Sound.

Distinguishing green features:

-Brownfield redevelopment spurring a 14-acre clean-up

-Maximizes open space & protects or restores habitat

-Building incorporates both daylight and views

-Innovative building systems include a warm water loop powered by waste methane gas to heat and cool the Museum facility

-Fundamental and enhanced commissioning of building energy systems

-Reclaimed water in toilets and irrigation

- Native plants and water efficient landscaping, reduces water usage  by 50%

- Waste reduction, reuse and recycling systems including construction waste

- Integration of interpretive exhibits throughout the facility with water resources and sustainable materials as a focus

-Museum facility will serve as a model for solar energy generation


A model environmental partnership, the Museum will be open for the weekend, offering:
Guided Tours of the Building:
Tour #1) Sunset Air and Berschauer-Phillips Construction & Advanced Environmental Engineering
Tour #2) LOTT Alliance & Methane CoGeneration Plant
Tour #3) Hands On Children's Museum

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