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June 2, 2016

SAM seeks GC/CM to expand and renovate Volunteer Park museum

The 9,600-square-foot expansion on the east side would cost $28 million to build. The museum needs a master use permit and approval from the Landmarks Preservation Board.

New gallery spaces would be on the main level, with education and event spaces below.

Seattle Art Museum is seeking a general contractor/construction manager to renovate and expand the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park.

Most of the 9,600-square-foot expansion would be on the east side of the museum, and contain new galleries, and education and conference space as well as an outdoor terrace. The north end would gain a new loading dock and receiving area.

The expansion would not be visible from the front of the building.

LMN Architects is the designer. The construction budget is $28 million.

Qualifications are due by 4 p.m. June 20 to SAM's project representative, OAC Services. See the public notice in the May 31 DJC for more details.

A pre-submittal meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m. June 6 at Seattle Asian Art Museum.

The 53,800-square-foot museum opened in 1933 as a home for SAM. After SAM moved downtown in the early 1990s, the Volunteer Park museum reopened in 1994 to house SAM's Asian art collection.

The art moderne-style building is listed as a city landmark, but it has received a number of modest additions over the years, including a new gallery in 1955, and a stairway and elevator in 1969. Recent improvements include a new roof in 2000, interior upgrades in 2001, fire system upgrades in 2006, and roof and seismic upgrades in 2007.

The new project would replace the HVAC system, add air conditioning, install electrical upgrades, add an emergency generator, improve the building envelope, and install more seismic upgrades.

Visitors will notice accessibility improvements, remodeled restrooms, and upgrades in the galleries and auditorium.

SAM Director Kim Rorschach talked about the project in March, according to a Seattle Times article, at SAM's annual preview luncheon and cited the lack of space for educational and family programs. She also said the HVAC improvements, including a new dehumidifier and air conditioning, will allow the museum to display fragile pieces that it can't show now.

The museum did not return messages seeking comments about its plans.

RFQ documents say the building envelope upgrades are needed to address condensation issues on exterior walls and windows. Seismic upgrades would replace or reinforce hollow clay tile walls at exit paths throughout the building, and address deficiencies noted in a report prepared in 1995.

Construction is slated to begin in August 2017 and should take a year. The museum would reopen in the first quarter of 2019.

Concept designs prepared by LMN are preliminary, said Brad Rock, a senior project manager at OAC Services. The project schedule shows design work is expected to continue through March 2017.

Renderings in the RFQ show new doorways at the rear of the central Garden Court, opening up to a two-story, glass-walled reception space with a wide stairway. Two gallery spaces would be on the main level of the expansion, and the education and event spaces would be on the ground level below.

Though the addition would not be apparent from the front of the building, it would occupy some green space behind it.

Documents filed with the city show that architects want to confirm that city code will allow the expansion. The museum is considered a nonconforming use in a single-family zone.

In addition to requiring a master use permit from the Department of Construction and Inspections, the project will need approval from the Landmarks Preservation Board before it can begin.

Other project team members are JMB Consulting Group, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, Rushing, Sparling and Coughlin Porter Lundeen.

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