Discovery World to kick off $18 million expansion project next week

Organization has raised nearly $12 million to date

A rendering of the expansion at Discovery World.

An $18 million expansion project at Discovery World will officially get underway next week when the science and technology museum on the lakefront in downtown Milwaukee holds a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of project’s first phase.

The two-phase project, which will add nearly 20,000 square feet to the museum when completed, was first announced in April.

Discovery World CEO Joel Brennan and Roy and Bobbie Reiman of The Reiman Foundation, which provided an undisclosed lead donation for the project, will celebrate the groundbreaking in a ceremony on Tuesday, Oct. 10.

A rendering of the planned expansion at Discovery World.

Discovery World has raised nearly $12 million of the $18 million needed to fund both phases of the expansion and expects to secure the rest of the funding by the end of the year, Discovery World spokesman Paul Flatden said.

The first phase of the expansion will add a 10,000-square-foot pavilion to take the place of the seasonal tent pitched each spring and summer on the north lawn of the lakefront museum. The pavilion, which is expected to be completed by summer 2018, will be used year-round for special events.

The second phase of the project involves remodeling major exhibit space and doubling the available exhibit and program space in the Technology Wing. A theater will be converted into a new grand entrance and exhibit gallery. The lower mezzanine level will be opened to the public to house the Technology Wing expansion, and two new permanent exhibits will be added there. One is a 5,000-square-foot exhibit on public health, medical research and health care careers and the other is a yet-to-be-determined 1,000-square-foot exhibit. The work is expected to begin this year and be finished by the end of 2018.

Discovery World leaders expect the projects to add another $1 million per year in earned revenue. The organization’s annual revenue is about $8 million.

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.