A link between the present and the past could add 3,000 square feet to the Nevada State Museum if state legislators decide to provide the funding.
Plans for improving access for the disabled call for construction of a glass enclosed mining headframe to be built between the former bank building to the north and the museum's annex, called the Calhoun Annex, to the south.
Members of the state Legislature's Interim Finance Committee will decide whether to shift more money to the museum project when they meet June 13.
There would be just one main entrance to the museum and more exhibit space once the work is completed, said Jim Barmore, museum director.
"It's going to elevate this museum to a new level," he said. "We've been ready for this for some time."
The $4.9 million project originally was estimated to cost $3.5 million. The additional $1.4 million is being moved from other state projects to make up the difference since it was first approved in 2005, according to the state's Legislative Counsel Bureau.
State Public Works attributes the increase to the region's jump in construction costs from $2.4 million to $3.7 million since the project was given the go-ahead. Lawmakers expected to see the work completed by the start of the 2007 Legislative session, but it may take a little longer now, said Jeff Resler, state public works construction project coordinator.
Members of the city's Historic Resources and Planning commissions have approved the project. Construction should take less than a year to complete and the state expects to award the bid in mid-July, Resler said.
The work requires moving the museum shop and providing handicap access for the highly popular mine shaft exhibit, Barmore said.
Other improvements to the museum have been conducted during the past couple of years, such as repainting, replacing floors, adding safety and security devices. Some exhibits have been moved around or stored to accommodate the smaller projects.
The museum's main building opened in 1870 as the United States Mint Carson City. It was refashioned as the state museum in 1941. The Calhoun Annex was built in 1971.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
Nevada State Museum expansion
Total project cost: $4.9 million
Target completion date: Mid-2007