Sinkhole Renovation Plans Discussed
Corvette Museum board reviews options
Eric Kaminsky - June 26, 2014 09:00 AM
How to repair the sinkhole in the Skydome at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was the main topic of discussion at the meeting of the Museum’s Board of Directors on June 25.
With 14 of the 16 board members present, three options were reviewed:
- Fill in the sinkhole and replace the floor so that the building looks much like it did before the February 12 incident
- Keep the sinkhole as it is now
- Keep a smaller portion of the hole open, but fill in the rest
After deliberation, the board chose the third option, but requested more information. Under this plan, an opening approximately 25 feet wide by 45 feet long, and approximately 30 feet deep would remain. The opening could include some existing ground and one of the rock faces, with a dirt embankment where one or two the cars that fell into the sinkhole could be placed. (Click the link at the end of the story to view an engineering drawing.)
The Museum did not release cost estimates. Changes that could impact the final construction cost include how to handle the impact of humidity in the room, and associated utility costs and maintenance issues one work is completed. Plans could be modified once these new estimates are received.
Christy Thomas, CFO for the Museum, shared that an estimate had been provided for filling in Option 3’s small portion of the sinkhole should the Museum decide later to end the exhibit. “If the interest in the exhibit wanes, or if down the road we decided that we don’t want the hole any longer there is always an option to put the room back how it was,” Thomas said.
Mike Murphy, C.E.O. of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, was on hand to answer questions and provide his feedback on the proposals. “You come in and you have all these displays of the history and life of Corvette, and then you come into the Skydome to see this new part of history,” said Murphy. “I think it will always be a part of history, but will the increased attendance continue? I don’t know, but it will always be of high interest.”
Sinkhole has increased attendance, revenue
Thomas shared with the Board some numbers – including a 59 percent increase in the number of visitors from March to June 23, 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013. The Museum has also seen an increase of 71 increase in admissions income, 58 percent increase in Corvette Store sales, 46 percent increase in Corvette Café sales, and 72 percent increase in Membership. Overall, this added up to a 65 percent increase in these revenue areas.
“We have to look at creative ways to generate interest in the Museum,” said Executive Director Wendell Strode. “It would be so much easier to just be a regular automotive museum with our Corvettes on display, but we have to think outside the box.” The construction plans also included eliminating the two level display space that once existed in the Skydome, both making it easier to get cars in and out, and increasing the number of cars that can be accommodated for display.
Plans are still on track to leave the sinkhole and eight Corvettes on display “as-is” through the end of August and then begin construction in September. The Museum will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with an event August 27-30, and the Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park is slated for August 28.
Link to Engineering drawing