PHOTO: This artist’s rendering portrays the interior commemorative wall that will permanently display the names of all donors to the capital campaign to raise funds for the new Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City that will be built at Red Bridge Shopping Center. Grading and utility relocation to prepare the site for the museum’s construction is now underway.
Construction underway for Wonderscope Children’s Museum
By John Sharp
With construction now underway at its new location at Red Bridge Shopping Center, officials at Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City are looking forward to opening the 30,000 square foot facility next fall as long as the weather cooperates at least a little bit.
Site preparation including grading and utility relocation should be completed relatively quickly, and museum officials are hopeful that foundation work will begin this year, with vertical construction starting late In the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2020.
“It’s been three years in the making, and we are so excited to share the news that Kansas City will soon have a new premiere children’s museum,” said Roxane Hill, Wonderscope executive director.
Founded in 1989, Wonderscope focuses on providing interactive exhibits and programs emphasizing science, technology, engineering, art and math for children ages 8 and under. Its mission is to spark a lifelong love of learning through the power of play.
Its new facility will have ten state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, four birthday rooms, two classrooms and a half-acre of outdoor educational and recreational space that will be ADA compliant and designed for year-round use dependent on the weather.
Hill said design of the imaginative new exhibits is progressing on schedule, and the museum is about to launch a community fundraising campaign to raise the final amounts needed for the new museum.
“Everyone who makes a gift will have their names permanently displayed on a commemorative wall inside the museum,” Hill said.
Persons wishing to donate to the capital campaign online can go to www.wonderscope.org and click on “learn more” under A New Place for Play in 2020.
The new museum at 433 E. Red Bridge Rd. is in the northwest quadrant of the shopping center. Museum officials expect it to attract about 200,000 children and their families during its first year in operation. The museum’s current much smaller facility – a 9,000 square foot remodeled elementary school in Shawnee – attracts 70-80,000 visitors annually, and its location does not have ready highway access.
Anticipating a significant increase in traffic, the city has approved widening and improving Red Bridge Rd. from Holmes Rd. west through its intersection with Wornall Rd. and construction is expected to start this spring. However, since construction will be phased to minimize traffic disruption, work is not expected to be completed until summer of 2021.
The improved street from Holmes to Wornall will have four lanes with curbs, gutters and storm sewer inlets and a narrow median. There will be a sidewalk on the north side and a 10-foot wide trail on the south side. The Red Bridge/Wornall intersection will be widened with new traffic signalization.