The city is leasing the Lower State Street site to the museum for free, on a former Redevelopment Agency-owned property near the Railroad Depot at 125 State St. Designed by the late architect Barry Berkus, the building will include interactive exhibits, a classroom lab, theater, rooftop garden and gift shop.
The $25 million museum project is meant to embrace science, technology, engineering, art and math — complete with a solar popcorn popper on the roof.
The plans for a local children’s museum have enjoyed widespread support for everything but the name itself. Executive director Sheila Cushman said a survey determined that “children” could limit the audience and “museum” may sound boring. A new name — without either word — will be announced soon.
The nonprofit organization needs 75 percent of the construction costs — which are around $7 million — to be shovel-ready. The project is looking for $25 million in total donations, which includes the costly interactive exhibits and a $5 million endowment.
As of August, pledges from board members had topped $5 million and Cushman hinted the campaign has already passed the halfway mark.
“Santa Barbara is a very expensive place to build, so the fact that our exhibits are costing more than the building is something,” she said. “They’re just spectacular.”
The museum is projected to open in 2016.