Mark Taylor
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The Johnson County Museum may soon have a new home.
County commissioners will be asked Nov. 18 to consider the purchase of a 70,000 square foot building at 8788 Metcalf Ave. to house the museum and its exhibits.
The building, which was built in the late 1950s and formerly housed a bowling alley and ice skating rink, is on the market for $2 million.
Joe Waters, director of facilities, said the structure will also need about $1.3 million in work to make it weathertight until the museum is ready to move in.
He noted that purchasing the building rather than building a new one would save the county between $3.9 million and $9.3 million.
Waters also said the $2 million asking price is down from $3.5 million last year.
“We feel like this is a very good price,” Waters told commissioners during their Nov. 10 agenda review. “Our patience has paid off.”
Waters said the current location is partially unusable because of recent water damage from flooding.
He also added that the museum is in need of additional space.
Mindi Love, director of the museum, said a “dozen” properties were considered before settling on the former bowling alley building.
She said the building is an architectural icon with abundant space and good access for visitors.
“It is the perfect fit for a new home for the museum,” Love said.
Love added that the county would be contributing to a revitalization of Metcalf Avenue by purchasing and preserving the historic building.
Two other familiar landmarks on Metcalf, the White Haven Motor Lodge and Glenwood Theater, have been razed in recent years.
“(The building) most likely would not be kept in tact if purchased by another buyer,” Love said.
Love said the building has enough space to eventually house a future National Museum of Suburbia.
Waters proposed using general reserve funds for the $2 million purchase and $1.3 in initial work on the property.
Commissioners requested that other options, including bonding, also be presented.