The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office and the City of Oak Ridge kicked off the new year by starting construction on the new home of the American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE).
RealtyLink, the developer for Main Street Oak Ridge, selected Oak Ridge-based Summit Construction as the contractor for the project. Crews began work on January 5th and increased activity can be expected in the area over the coming weeks as construction progresses.
The new space for AMSE is located between the current JCPenney store and a future Marriott hotel, which is also under construction. The museum entrance will be on Main Street East. AMSE will be all on one floor, occupying approximately 18,000 square feet.
“With the basic interior building plans and designs completed, the City will continue to work with RealtyLink on enhancements to the exterior circulation and supporting amenities for the visitors,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson explained. “This is a much awaited project, since authorization by the Secretary of Energy last year, and we are pleased to be moving forward.”
Design plans include a large theater as well as classroom space that can be divided into two regular-sized rooms or one large classroom, supporting a variety of uses for visitors and staff. DOE is developing new exhibits, interactive technology, and updates to the museum’s most popular existing displays in cooperation with a professional museum design consultant.
“We are very excited about the start of construction at the new location of the AMSE,” added Ken Tarcza, Manager of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office. “This milestone represents the tremendous progress that has been made in a short amount of time, which has been possible because of the outstanding relationships between DOE, the City of Oak Ridge, and the developer.”
DOE is also working in close partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and the new AMSE facility. The NPS plans to maintain a presence and programming at multiple locations in the City, including the new AMSE location and the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.
AMSE was originally slated to be in its new home by the end of 2017, but the City, RealtyLink, and DOE agreed to an extension to allow for more time to develop plans for new exhibits and upgrades to the building that will house the museum. The target move-in date is now June 2018. AMSE will remain open in its current location, 300 South Tulane Avenue, until the new space is completed.
For information on planning a trip to the American Museum of Science and Energy, visit the museum’s website at amse.org or call (865) 576-3200.