An artist rendering of what the museum's marine and paleo halls will look like after the remodel
Courtesy Photo

After drastically scaling back initial designs for a fully revamped campus over the past few years, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History enjoyed unanimous support from the City of Santa Barbara’s Planning Commission last Thursday, when the Mission Canyon museum’s proposal to update its permit passed following a nearly six-hour hearing.

Since the renovation won’t expand the museum’s footprint — a major shift from the additional 14,000 square feet proposed in 2010 by former director Karl Hutterer — the only points of contention last week were the loss of one parking spot and the request to use the entire PA system again. The commission essentially trusted that the museum would handle those last elements properly.

The vote also cleared the way for the city to annex the entire property away from the county, allowing the museum to be under one jurisdiction for the future.

The multi-phase remodel is expected to cost $30 million, of which $11,125,000 has been raised; the hope is to start on the butterfly pavilion in the fall of 2016, yet the museum will remain open the entire time.

“The goal of connecting people nature and science has not changed,” said spokesperson Easter Moorman of the scaled back vision. “We’re just doing a different approach now.”


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