MOI Education Center to be demolished Wednesday to make way for expansion
IDAHO FALLS - The Museum of Idaho’s (MOI) expansion is about to get much more visible. The Maeck Family Foundation Education Center building, on the museum’s campus just north of the main building, is scheduled for demolition on Wednesday morning. The demolition will clear the way for the museum’s planned 20,000-square-foot expansion, which will nearly double its size. Excavation and construction on the expansion will begin soon after demolition is complete.
The MOI Board of Trustees approved the construction plan in a meeting on July 10, after receiving bids from subcontractors under construction manager/general contractor Bateman-Hall on June 26. The museum’s expansion is set to accomplish several goals, including nearly tripling the amount of space for Idaho and regional exhibits, increasing the space for traveling exhibits, events, and storage, and bringing flexible education space – also named after Maeck – inside the building. With the new configuration, the museum will also be able to change out future exhibits without having to close the entire facility.
Construction on the expansion is expected to last 12 to 18 months. Once the new exhibit hall is open, the museum’s current exhibit space will close for interior renovations to improve the flow between the various elements of the facility. The museum will also revamp its regional exhibits during that time, which is expected to last several months.
The museum will remain open throughout the entire construction process. Numerous visitor parking spaces will remain available in the lots directly across Eastern Ave., as well as on nearby streets. Despite the loss of the museum’s main parking lot with the expansion, MOI has recently purchased nearby property that will increase the future number of available parking spots to about 95 – far more than its current number.
The one-story Maeck Family Foundation Education Center building was built in the 1960s and housed restaurants including KFC and The Little Deli before the museum purchased it to house children’s programs.
“From dissecting brains to launching candy, we have wonderful memories of learning, playing, and exploring in the Maeck Family Foundation Education Center,” said MOI Director of Education Chloe Doucette. “We are forever grateful to the Maeck family and the hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have come to enjoy an educational experience there. Although its destruction may mark the end of an era, the MOI education department is looking forward to the new education space and the opportunities it will allow us to provide for future learners.”