McCarthy Building Goes to Bat for Baseball Hall of Fame

Wed June 04, 2003 - Northeast Edition

St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies Inc. has been selected construction manager and general contractor on a $10-million renovation project for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, which opened June 12, 1939.

As the mission of the Hall of Fame grew, so did the need for additional space to store and exhibit its expansive collection and archives.

Several earlier additions added more space but did not achieve the current desire to provide visitors with a systematic flow. The additions did not maximize the square footage or optimize facility-wide infrastructure. McCarthy’s challenge on this project is to resolve these issues.

The purpose of the museum renovation is to create a safer environment for patrons; to provide smoother traffic flow through the museum’s galleries; to allow for better management and control the climate of the artifacts; and to provide a greater presence of interactive technology for visitors.

“Our biggest challenge has been to plan the phasing of construction to provide safe and continuous visitor access to the facility,” said Tom Birkemeier, project director of McCarthy.

“We are glad to have McCarthy on board and have confidence in their experience and ability to undertake a complex project like this,” said Bill Haase, senior vice president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “One of our main objectives was to keep the museum open and maintain access to as many exhibits as possible during construction. McCarthy has played an important role in making this happen.”

The project includes the connection of two current structures to allow for the housing of new elevators and a curved grand staircase that will sweep up to each level and serve as a starting point for visitors’ exploration of the galleries. Existing ceilings are being raised with the addition of a new roof that will visually unify the building. All galleries are being renovated with new finishes, museum lighting and exhibits.

In addition, the exterior courtyard is being redesigned to improve handicapped access. In the entry, the ticketing areas will have a completely new look. In the foyer, a new wall with window glass will provide a focal point into the Plaque Gallery, providing visitors with a sneak preview before they pay their admission fee. The overall improved flow of exhibits allows the curatorial staff to better communicate the story of baseball, utilizing more interactive technology.

The museum also is expanding and upgrading its existing security, fire alarm, building automation, public address, and telephone and data systems. Extensive improvements to the mechanical and electrical systems allow for updating temperature and humidity controls that are critical to the exhibit environment.

Construction on the project is scheduled to conclude in early 2005.

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