Officials could cut the ribbon for the new Kaleideum museum in downtown Winston-Salem in the fall of 2023, with up to $27.2 million in construction approved on Thursday by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners.
It’s a big step forward for the project, which is expected to become a central attraction in downtown Winston-Salem overlooking Merschel Park.
Commissioners gave unanimous approval to the price estimate for the new Kaleideum building put forward by Frank L. Blum Construction Co., the construction manager for the project.
Counting preconstruction and demolition costs, the entire budget for the project has a maximum price of $28.6 million.
What’s not included is more than $9 million in additional dollars that are coming to Kaleideum through pledges in its capital campaign. Those pledges are being used to finance the exhibits inside the new Kaleideum building.
Kaleideum was formed from the merger of SciWorks and the Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem in 2016. The merger was followed up by plans to construct a new home for Kaleideum in downtown Winston-Salem on the former site of the sheriff’s office downtown.
County Manager Dudley Watts said that the start of work on the Kaleideum adds yet another project to those taking place downtown. Commissioners recently approved the start of construction on a new courthouse.
“When you take the courthouse getting moved, and whatever is going to happen to the (existing) courthouse property, which is a site of significant interest, then the Kaleideum and the energy of Merschel Park, you have an amazing set of synergies around downtown,” Watts said. “It is big.”
Deputy County Manager Damon Sanders-Pratt on Thursday gave commissioners a review of the progress on the Kaleideum project, starting from Feb. 1, 2018, when Blum was selected to provide preconstruction services, including a schematic design.
In 2019, Blum was picked to carry the project on through the completion of design work, with demolition of the former sheriff’s office building authorized in 2020.
In May of 2021, Blum received bids from the first-tier contractors, with the company proposing a guaranteed maximum price of $27.2 million to the county on June 18. The total includes a 3% construction management fee for Blum.