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With future plans for expansion, Marbles Kids Museum buys building next door

Posted September 18

Courtesy: Marbles Kids Museum

With sights set on future expansion, Marbles Kids Museum has purchased the building that sits next to the museum's central courtyard, according to a press release issued Monday.

Marbles purchased the building, the former Longleaf School of the Arts at 207 E. Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh, from MDO Holdings, whose CEO Michael D. Olander, Jr. made the building available to Marbles for $3.1 million, a discount to offers from other parties, the release says.

“We knew this property was critical for the growth of one of downtown’s best assets, Marbles Kids Museum, and we believe in their vision and mission of children learning through play. We’ve been happy to work with their leadership and board over the past few months to ensure the deal worked for all involved," Olander said in the release.

Any new construction is years away for Marbles, which marks its 10th anniversary this month. Fundraising efforts are now just getting underway for an expansion. Growth in visitors is fueling the need for a bigger space for Marbles, leaders said.

“The number one comment we hear from our guests is that we need to grow – more exhibits, a larger lobby and added space for family programs. Our camps and educational field trips are at capacity, and new programming is impossible during peak periods," CEO Sally Edwards said in the release.

Marbles will share more details about the expansion, including conceptual diagrams and a timeline for the first phase, later this fall. New construction won't begin until 2020. Until then, repairs and renovations to the former school building are being estimated and options for its immediate use are under evaluation, the release says. There also are plans to renovate two existing exhibits and create space for new exhibits on the museum's existing second floor.

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