According to a building permit application filed with the City of Atlanta on Friday, the Center for Puppetry Arts is ready to begin building its three-story, 21,250-square-foot addition on Spring Street. The application lists the construction costs as $2,420,696 but the entire project is expected to run closer to $14 million with new exhibits. By the time it opens next year, the expanded Center will include a new library and archival space, a renovated entryway, a new Global Collection area that will display puppets from around the world (organized by continent) and, of course, a Jim Henson wing that will house and showcase the hundreds of Muppets and props donated by Henson's family in 2007. When complete, the Center will have the largest collection of retired Muppets in the world, which is pretty much every human's life goal (or should be). But not everyone is thrilled.
The windowless — some say prison-like — design of the expansion has been a sticking point with some Midtowners, particularly given that it will obscure most of the Center's current building, which is the historic Spring Street Elementary School. It was Atlanta's first integrated school and the alma mater of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children. Post-expansion, it will be mostly hidden from view. The Center explains that the purpose of the new building's windowless design is to protect the light-sensitive Henson collection from the sun's damaging rays and that the building had to be positioned along Spring Street in order to maintain the parking in the rear of the museum.
· Center For Puppetry Arts Files Plans For 2015 Expansion [WhatNowAtlanta]
· Spring Street Elementary School about to disappear behind the Center for Puppetry Arts museum expansion [Saporta Report]
[Images via Center for Puppetry Arts.]