This cooperative project has involved a community needs assessment, completed in April 2012, which determined how the Discovery Center will ultimately fit into the community. Then, a master facilities plan was created based on input from the partner organizations and the community needs identified by the assessment. The next phase will be the completion of a fundraising feasibility study to determine if the project is fundable.
The ultimate goal is to create a modern, energy-efficient, green-design facility that will enable the four partner organizations to better fulfill their missions and deliver their programs. The final design concept will emerge from this comprehensive planning process.
Site improvements will include many distinctive elements, adding to the value of the project for both the community and the Discovery Center partner organizations. The design will include the most cost-effective ways to construct an environmentally and economically sustainable building. Adaptive reuse of some buildings is a viable option and has been the primary and successful strategy of the partner organizations up to this point. The project will also include many unique building possibilities, including a historic boat-building shop with viewing access to the public, individual and shared gallery spaces, and greater public access to Grand Traverse Bay for education and recreation. Proximity to the Leelanau Trail and the plan to connect to the TART Trail system is another unique element.
Fundamentally, the project will also strengthen the collaboration between the partner organizations and improve their cost-sharing, which promises greater efficiency and increased effectiveness of the organizations and their unique missions within the community.