Finger Lakes Museum selects design teams

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express
This photo shows a portion of the site at the Keuka Lake State Park where the Finger Lakes Museum of Cultural and Natural History will be built. The exact location of the building has not been determined.

The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Museum has selected its design and preconstruction planning teams according to board president, John Adamski. The award-winning Wilkes-Barre, Pa, firm of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was chosen as the project architect from a list of 35 contenders that submitted qualifications. The LeChase/Gilbane Partnership, from Rochester, was picked as the museum’s preconstruction consultant out of eight firms that presented proposals.

Adamski said, “Selecting these two teams from literally dozens of qualified firms was no easy task. Members of our Facilities Committee spent many hours reading, evaluating, and comparing each proposal. Both of these teams are nationally recognized in the field of museum and habitat design and construction, and we’re very excited to have them aboard.”

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, known for its work with the National Park Service, has partnered with noted Boston museum exhibit and aquarium designers, Christopher Chadbourne & Associates and Ithaca-based landscape architects, Trowbridge & Wolf. LeChase Construction Services, LLC, teamed up with real estate developer Gilbane Building Company Inc., to provide preconstruction planning services.  

Adamski said that bringing designers and construction experts together at the outset will ensure collaboration early in the process and eliminate cost overruns further down the road. “Value engineering will begin on day one,” he added.

William Loose, AIA, vice president and principal of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson said, “We’re just thrilled to have been selected for this extraordinary opportunity.  This will be a museum that enlightens, inspires and educates both present and future generations, leaving a lasting impression in the hearts of all visitors.  We’re looking forward to working with everyone involved to create a place that will treasure the natural beauty and cultural history of the Finger Lakes region.”

Wayne LeChase, CEO of LeChase Construction Services LLC and principal in the LeChase/Gilbane Partnership, said, “We are delighted to be part of this exciting project, which is very meaningful to us. At the end of the day, it is indeed going to be a world-class project.”

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a world-class educational institution that will showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. The initial figure for constructing the project was estimated to be about $40 million but Adamski said that was a “comparable guesstimate” made without the benefit of architectural and construction management expertise. “Now we can start working with some real numbers”, he said, adding that “phasing the project is also under consideration”.

The next step in project development is to undertake a master plan for Keuka Lake State Park, the museum’s future site, together with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Museum executives will be meeting with State Parks officials in Albany soon to begin the process. 

Jerusalem Supervisor Daryl Jones said the town will not be involved in that process. He said the town is “100 percent behind” the museum’s purchase of the Branchport School Building and the choice of design teams.

Town officials have begun their own process of reviewing the Route 54A corridor and seeking funds for other community initiatives.