CSU, Chico News

Natural History Museum Plan Approved by Trustees

Date: 11-19-2007

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Greg Liggett
Northern California Natural History Museum

The California State University Board of Trustees Nov. 14 approved the building plan of the Northern California Natural History Museum (NCNHM) at CSU, Chico during their regular November meeting in Long Beach.

The trustees reviewed the museum plan, along with other proposed campus building projects, and approved the architectural plans and scope of the museum. This action allows officials to officially move forward with the building process.

The museum building will be built on CSU, Chico land adjacent to Bidwell Mansion State Historic Park near downtown Chico. The total museum project is expected to be approximately $6 million, with funds coming from a combination of a state grant and private donations.

“We are thrilled with the museum plan, and how the building will reflect the character of the North State,” said Judy Sitton, president of the museum board.

The building will feature a geologic time walk leading up to the entrance. A towering light shaft rises over the lobby, reminiscent of the region’s mountains and volcanoes.

Visitors can follow a line on the floor, representing Big Chico Creek, through the lobby and into a large Valley Gallery. Here the line joins a larger pattern representing the Sacramento River flowing through the middle of the building.

From the Valley Gallery, visitors may choose to explore the museum’s exhibit galleries, a hands-on Discovery Room and a Demonstration Laboratory. Educational storage, exhibit production space, administrative areas, and a museum store are also planned for the building.

The building is expected to be LEED-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as following rigorous environmental building standards, in keeping with the museum’s mission of promoting sustainable growth.

“So far, we have been a Museum Without Walls,” said Greg Liggett, executive director of the museum, referring to the museum’s popular education series by that name.

“The museum has worked for several years now to provide fun and exciting science about the North State,” said Liggett. “We’ve been doing what we can with speakers, Discovery Table booths at events and so on.

“We’re incredibly excited that we’ll be able to do so much more when we have this building. It will make us a much greater asset to the town of Chico, to Chico State, and to the whole North State region.”

The museum building was designed by Anova Architects in Placerville, and will be constructed by Sacramento-based John F. Otto, Inc.

Final details on the design are being completed and construction is anticipated to begin in the first half of 2008. After the building is completed, several months of exhibit installation will precede its opening to the public.