LEOMINSTER, MASS. — Renovations at the National Plastics Center & Museum are nearly complete and within budget, according to Valerie A. Wilcox, executive director.
The center, which opened in 1992, occupies a former school building, built in 1900. A $1 million capital campaign of its National Board of Governors announced in October 1997 helped get matters started. The expansion tripled the exhibit and function space and doubled the teaching space. It also increased support and storage space, and gained climate-controlled, secure storage for archives and collections.
Pledges totaling 60 percent of the $1 million goal have been received by capital campaign Chairman Watts Humphrey, chairman of Conair Group in Emsworth, Pa. He will give an update of pledges at the May meeting of NPCM's National Board of Governors meeting. At that time, the governors also will announce the official opening date of the renovated building.
There are notable improvements in the building. One is the third-floor Keville Room, named in honor of Jack Keville, a longtime driving force behind the museum. The room can seat 250 guests for special functions, and combines a cathedral ceiling and original beams and brick work with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment and furnishings.
The B.W. Doyle Resource Room, which was funded anonymously, is scheduled to open by the end of June, according to Wilcox. Large, gable windows offer a panoramic view of the city. The room features a hardwood floor, antique furnishings and a gas fireplace, and will house much of the archival collection.
The basic science classroom is about finished, according to Wilcox. She said another $80,000 is needed to complete furnishings. It will be used to teach processing and chemistry laboratories simultaneously.
The board of the Plastics Academy, of Berkley, Mich., is working to raise $100,000 to redo the Hall of Fame exhibit. The display is on the first floor, but the hope is to build an interactive display on the second floor. According to John Kretzschmar, the plan is to put together an exhibit, titled ``The Evolution and History of Plastics,'' that will include information on Hall of Fame members and their places in history. He said $33,000 has been pledged so far.
A group of polymer chemistry graduate students from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst are designing a ``What Is a Plastic?'' exhibit. So far, it has been a volunteer project, and Wilcox said about $30,000 is needed to transform it from the design stage to a prominent, first-floor exhibit.
She said the outreach program has been a success, reaching more than 25,000 students and teachers in the United States and Canada. She said NPCM's three PlastiVans expect to reach twice that number by fiscal 2000.