The grant from the New York State Regional Economic Development Council is the only one awarded to a cultural institution on Long Island.
Nearly 35,000 square feet of function specific space, including a north and south wing, will be added to the existing Beaux Arts building, the museum said.
“The vision of expanding The Heckscher Museum facility has been around for quite some time. In 1975 a schematic design for a major addition was developed for Museum leadership by renowned architect Marcel Breuer. Unfortunately, over the years a variety of circumstances have prevented the completion of the Breuer and subsequent plans,” said Dr. Michael W. Schantz, executive director and CEO of the Heckscher Museum.
The museum, noting that two previous expansion efforts were stalled because of several financial issues, the board plans to have the new wings in place by the museum’s 100th anniversary in the year 2020.
“Having the state’s backing of the expansion plan, through the Regional Economic Development award, in addition to more than 4 million dollars in a Capital Building fund certainly puts the museum on a stronger financial foundation to secure the necessary funding to move the expansion project forward,” said Beverly Bell, chair of the Museum Board of Trustees.
The current expansion plan, designed by Centerbrook Architects keeps the historically registered original building at the center of the plan, flanked by symmetrical additions connected by glazed corridors. The New York State Preservation Office approved the design in 1995.
Schantz said, “The majority of the challenging work on the expansion project has been accomplished – construction-ready architectural plans, federal, state, and local permits and approvals. While the expansion plan has a significant amount of financial support through private donations, there is still a good deal of work to be done to insure the expansion can be built and maintained.”
The museum said the two wings will include program-specific spaces: The north wing will house a suite of special exhibition galleries totaling 4,000 square feet. Its lower level will house a learning center, with class rooms, a technology hub, and an exhibition gallery for the display of children’s art.
The south wing would have 1,600 square feet of auditorium space for lectures and symposia, concerts and performances, workshops, and other educational and civic programs.