San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

June 9th, 2010
County to kick in $225K for LBJ Museum work

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The Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum of San Marcos on the downtown square. Photo by Sean Batura.

By SEAN BATURA
News Reporter

The Hays County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Tuesday to pledge $225,000 towards renovating the unfinished second floor of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Museum in downtown San Marcos.

The San Marcos City Council voted unanimously on May 18 to provide $89,350 for renovating the museum’s first floor.

The renovations are intended to accommodate more exhibits, add storage space and create multi-functional spaces for use by student, community and business groups, among others.

The museum, which opened in 2006 after nine years of planning, fundraising, and renovations, is housed in an old, two-story movie theater at 131 North Guadalupe Street, on the courthouse square. LBJ Museum of San Marcos, a local 501(c)(3) organization, leases the building from Hays County.

“We want so badly to turn one end of that upstairs into like a library where we really can engage students,” said LBJ Museum of San Marcos President Pat Murdock.

Murdock said the building’s unfinished second floor is approximately 6,000, which would be renovated to include a reading room and library, a reception area, a place for temporary exhibits, an auditorium with flexible seating, and restrooms. Murdock said some rooms on the second floor will be made available as meeting spaces to interested groups.

Murdock said renovations to the museum’s ground floor will begin by at least late summer and must precede work on the second floor. LBJ Museum of San Marcos will put the city money to use on the building’s ground floor by creating a climate-controlled collections storage area and multi-purpose rooms for temporary exhibits, meetings, classrooms, curation, a work room, and a lounge with an installed kitchenette.

Individuals often at political odds with one another appeared at Tuesday’s Hays County commissioners court meeting to speak in support of the LBJ Museum renovation project. Those who spoke included San Marcos Mayor Susan Narvaiz, San Marcos City Councilmember John Thomaides, LBJ Museum Vice President and San Marcos Downtown Association President Scott Gregson, LBJ Museum board member Ed Mihalkanin, LBJ Museum Treasurer Theresa Schwartz and San Marcos Main Street Program Director Kelly Franks.

The San Marcos Downtown Association and the San Marcos Historic Preservation Commission voted unanimously in support of the renovations to the LBJ Museum.

Gomillion Kester Zimmerman Inc., based in San Marcos, created the current concept design for the museum renovations. Murdock said that firm will probably provide further architectural services. Murdock said her group already has funding in place for the architectural work, but said no contractor has been chosen for the renovation work.

Some of the $225,000 from the county will be used to install a sprinkling system, fire alarms, and a new system for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. The county funds will also be used to install insulation, lighting, electrical and plumbing systems, as well as an elevator to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

The county is assessing different funding options, including splitting the payment over two fiscal years and drawing $150,000 from funds that would otherwise have been used to implement the new fire code. The fire code is unlikely to be implemented this year.

The city council approved a budget amendment on last month to transfer $89,350 from the general fund and a cash-supported capital improvement program. The city may reimburse itself from hotel/motel taxes.

In addition to its general fundraising, the LBJ Museum of San Marcos has received a $25,000 grant from the Texas Pioneer Foundation, $10,000 from Hobby Foundation and $725 from Hochheim Prairie Farm Mutual Insurance Branch 204.

The LBJ Museum will hold its eighth annual golf tournament on Saturday. The golf tournament last year raised more than $5,000 for the museum. The city contributed $48,000 to the LBJ Museum in 2003 for renovations.

The museum is open Thursday through Saturday. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

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0 thoughts on “County to kick in $225K for LBJ Museum work

  1. This is going to be a vital part of the continuing revitalization of San Marcos , including a meeting room not only for museum speakers and panels, but other community groups, and along with the other museums and River Center enhance the educational tourist industry, meaning more $ for local businesses.

  2. I can’t begin to express how happy I am with the BIG SPENDERS we have at commissioners’ court. The LBJ museum is a great idea, but I’m just not into using my taxes to “revitalize San Marcos.” That’s the responsibility of the San Marcos tax payers.

    Guess I’m just old fashion when it comes to the concept of fiscal discipline and responsibility.

    I’m sure not into higher taxes but the BIG SPENDERS just never saw a project they don’t like—especially if it will buy them votes with taxpayer money.

    No cost/benefit study. No priority of project investment. If we run out of taxpayer money—well, we will just raise taxes more. I’m looking forward to November.

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