Museum plan would build on Blanden’s gift to the city

Project is worthy of support

The Blanden Memorial Art Museum has been a cultural touchstone in Fort Dodge since its doors opened in 1932.

The museum at 920 Third Ave. S. was a gift to the community from Charles G. Blanden.

Since Blanden made his major gift, the technology for protecting and restoring artworks has improved. Maintaining a proper temperature in the museum is key, but like anything else mechanical, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system will eventually wear out . As the need to replace that system grows more urgent, museum leaders have devised a plan to address not one but two concerns at the same time.

The machinery that will be at the heart of a new HVAC system is about the size of a bus. Rather than having the big metal machine sit on the ground next to the building, a newly itroduced plan calls for it to be on top of a new addition that would be constructed on the west side of the museum. Two new classrooms would be created inside the addition to replace the one classroom in the museum’s basement.

We believe this is a good plan that should be completed.

It will provide the museum with an up-to-date HVAC system while keeping the machinery out of the way and just about out of sight.

It will also yield two new classrooms to replace one classroom that often doesn’t seem to meet the needs. As an added bonus, with its own entrance the new addition will make it possible to have art classes in the evening without having to open up the whole museum.

The project is estimated to cost $1.6 million. The city government will pay for the new HVAC system, while the Blanden Charitable Foundation will seek donations and grants to pay for the building addition. That sounds like a fair deal to us.

We urges residents of Fort Dodge to support this project.