In 2018, the Springfield Art Museum commissioned award-winning architecture firm, BNIM to produce a Master Plan for its building and grounds. The goal of this plan was to reimagine the Museum as a 21st century civic asset by expanding educational and public programming space and creating strong physical and aesthetic connections between the Museum grounds, an adjacent park and a greenway trail. While the scope of the Master Plan was limited to the Museum’s building and grounds, it was to be understood in the context of a larger, multi-phased plan to link the Museum to other parts of the community through parks and trails.
- Phase I: The Grounds
- Phase II: Education Wing
- Phase III: West Entry
- Phase IV: Galleries and Auditorium
Phase I includes improvements to the Museum’s grounds including widening and naturalizing Fassnight Creek, which flows through a concrete channel directly south of the Museum, to mitigate flooding risk for the Museum. Phase I will also include creating trail connections to nearby amenities including the WaterWise Garden south of the Museum and Phelps Grove Park to the west of the Museum. Parking will be relocated and expanded on the north side of the Museum grounds to create additional greenspace for the Museum’s WPA-era Amphitheater, located on the western edge of the grounds, to the Museum’s West Entrance. This will also improve connections between the Museum grounds and Phelps Grove Park, located to the west of the Amphitheater.
Fassnight Creek Naturalization/Stormwater Improvements
Project Status: Funded with anticipated start date of March 15, 2021
While developing the Master Plan it was discovered that FEMA was in the process of redrawing flood plain maps and planned to place the Museum in both the 100-year and 500-year flood plain. To correct this, the City of Springfield is working to widen and naturalize Fassnight Creek. These improvements will include native Missouri plantings to create an urban wildlife habitat, pedestrian/bike trails, and outdoor sculpture.
Funding for this project is provided through Missouri Department of Natural Resources Stormwater Grant, Missouri Department of Conservation Native Planting Grant, Environmental Protection Agency 319 Grant, and 1/4-cent Capital Improvement Sales Tax. For more information about the Fassnight Creek Stormwater Improvement Project, visit the following weblink: Click here.
Fassnight Creek Greenway Trail Connection
Project Status: Funded with anticipated start date of Fall 2021
A key goal of the Master Plan is to connect the Museum and its grounds to sites and amenities throughout the City via our stellar Greenway Trails. This goal will be met through the future construction of a multi-use trail connection, planned for construction in fall 2021.
The connection will begin at Clay Avenue, continue east through Phelps Grove Park and end at Brookside Drive. The new 1,600 linear foot path will include a bike repair station, ADA ramps, and will connect to shared bike lanes on Brookside Drive via a new pedestrian bridge.
The trail project will begin construction following the completion of a separate stretch of trail further to the west, from Jefferson Avenue to Clay Avenue. When all is complete, this section of trail will stretch from the Museum to Phelps Grove Park to Parkview High School and Fassnight Park and will ultimately connect up with the future Grant Avenue Parkway BUILD grant project. For more information about the Grant Avenue Parkway project, visit the following weblink: https://grantavenueparkway.com/
The Fassnight trail project will be funded through federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grants with the City funding a 20% match through the 1/8-cent Transportation Sales Tax.
Northside Parking Improvements
Status: Funded with anticipated start date of Summer/Fall 2021
Phase I will also include improvements to parking, which will be relocated to the north side of the Museum property, creating better connectivity between the Museum grounds and Phelps Grove Park as well as additional greenspace for the Amphitheater. In addition to expanded parking, these improvements will include enhanced access to the Museum grounds through trails and walkways, improved lighting, attractive landscaping, and stormwater management features such as pervious pavers and other improvements that will help water quality by addressing nonpoint source pollutants.
Phase 1: Northside Parking Improvements
Parking improvements will be completed through a phased approach. Phase 1 includes construction of westside parking with most of the Museum's current parking lot remaining. This is to ensure handicap accessible parking is available for the Museum's current west entrance. The sketch below illustrates the proposed Phase 1 improvements.
Northside Parking Improvements: With All Phases Complete
The Museum anticipates completing all northside parking improvements as part of the Master Plan, Phase III: West Side Entry. The sketch below illustrates the proposed Phase II parking improvements to be completed in conjunction with Phase III: West Side Entry.
As part of the Northside Parking Improvements, the Museum will work to implement environmentally sustainable solutions including those intended to address pollutants from parking lot run-off, referred to as "nonpoint source pollutants." This will be achieved through pervious pavers, native plantings, and other measures that will help filter pollutants before they enter the water supply. The sketch below details a cross section of the proposed parking lot improvements and the measures taken to address stormwater management.
The Northside Parking Improvements are generously funded by the Sunderland Foundation.
Phase II includes the demolition and replacement of the Museum’s existing Education Wing. This wing was built in 1958 and includes classroom spaces, a family learning center, and administrative offices. Due to its size, its configuration, and its age, this wing is no longer functional to meet the needs of the Museum today. The new Education Wing will include a larger Family Learning Center, flexible studio art classrooms, a communal artists’ studio, expanded prefunction and public flex-spaces, administrative space including co-working space for partner organizations, and a new south-facing entrance that will connect the Museum to greenspaces and the WaterWise Garden to the south. Building improvements will also include improvements to the Museum’s Courtyard as well as a central corridor connecting the Museum’s West Entrance to the Education Wing.
Phase II: Education Wing
Project Status: Pending funding, start date TBD
The renderings below detail a new, iconic roofline that pays homage to the original 1958 Education Wing, while providing an architectural presence and a new façade facing National Avenue. Brookside Drive is converted to a boulevard with planted median creating an entryway into the Museum, Phelps Grove Park, and Phelps Grove Neighborhood. Ample glass walls break down barriers between inside and outdoors, while highlighting the activities taking place within the Museum.
Floor Plan Improvements
The Museum’s Master Plan includes a complete reinvention of community and educational spaces through the construction of a new, state of the art Education Wing that will meet our community’s current and long-term needs. The floorplan below details the new Education Wing. New studio art classroom spaces (3) will include operable walls that will enable these spaces to serve both small and large class sizes providing maximum flexibility for children's classes as well as school tour groups. The expanded Family Learning Center (8) will include numerous play-based learning activities to engage the entire family and will open to the Courtyard space (5) connecting art with nature and learning. New corridors, entryways, and prefunction and public flex-spaces (1, 2, & 6) will provide for better flow and accessibility. The 2nd floor features a communal art studio for adult classes and adult learning (3), office and conference room space (4), and a centralized staff library space (7). Ample storage is provided on both the first and second floors (9).
Phase III includes the addition of a new entry-way and large event space on the west side of the Museum. This addition will further align the Museum’s West Entrance to the Amphitheater and Phelps Grove Park. The large event space will provide capacity for seated events with attendance of 200 – 300. A new gallery space and reception area are planned on the south end of this addition.
Phase III: West Entry
Project Status: Pending funding, start date TBD
The renderings below detail the new façade of the Museum's west entrance as well as the interior of the new west entry event center, lobby, and reception area. Glass curtain walls allow the planned event space to open out to a continuous lawn, connecting the Museum to the outdoor Amphitheater and Phelps Grove Park beyond. The interior views illustrate the architectural through-line connection from the grounds, through the entry, past the Auditorium, toward the Courtyard at the center of the Museum floorplan.
New West Entrance Floorplan
The Phase III improvements reorients the Museum's west entrance toward the Amphitheater and lawn and aligns the building with trails leading into Phelps Grove Park and sites beyond. The new entry, lobby, and event space (6) provides ample opportunities for large community gatherings and Museum events as well as more intimate spaces for small meetings (6). Operable glass walls open out onto the Museum grounds connecting events happening inside with those happening outside on the lawn and in the Amphitheater. Phase III also provides expanded gallery space (2) that will connect Museum programs to community and Museum events. A large kitchen (5) provides opportunities for catered events and food service. Additional office space (4) will be created for Southwest Missouri Museum Associates (SMMA), who founded the Museum in 1928 and have contributed mightily to the Museum's growth over the years.
Phase IV includes renovations to existing spaces including the Museum’s 400-seat Auditorium with improvements to adjoining restrooms, the Weisel and Kelly Galleries, and the Museum’s art storage vaults and exhibition prep areas. This will also include upgrades to the Museum’s mechanical systems and other systems. The Museum’s first-floor storage vaults and loading docks will be reconfigured to provide more direct access and a covered loading dock for more secure artwork shipping and receiving. An existing art storage area will be eliminated to expand gallery space.
Phase IV: Galleries and Auditorium
Project Status: Pending funding, start date TBD
Need more information?
The full Master Plan book can be found at the following weblink: Springfield Art Museum Master Plan Book
Want regular update on this project via email?
If you would like regular email updates about current projects or future phases of the Museum's Master Plan you can sign up for notifications at the following weblink: Notification Sign-up Form.
Interested in supporting this project?
If you are interested in supporting this project financially or otherwise, please contact Nick Nelson, Museum Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Naming opportunities are available.