Note: This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 3.
With a property transfer agreement signed, new businesses could be built on the 17 acres that now house the American Museum of Science and Energy, the museum will be relocated, and the AMSE building could be demolished, officials and a business executive said Friday.
The changes are allowed under an agreement approved by federal officials, unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge City Council in December, and signed by U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch in a Friday morning ceremony at Oak Ridge Associated Universities.
The U.S. Department of Energy said the transfer of the museum property, owned by the federal government, will allow the City of Oak Ridge to “explore future innovative development and economic stimulus opportunities.”
“From the Manhattan Project of World War II to the cutting-edge materials research of today, Oak Ridge has long played a vital role in American science and security,” Moniz said. “This agreement will ensure that Oak Ridge’s history is preserved and shared while providing the city a new opportunity to create jobs and strengthen the local economy.”
When the transfer is completed, DOE public outreach and education missions that are now conducted at AMSE and focused on Oak Ridge history, science, and national security will continue in renovated space in a two-story building that once housed a Sears store next to JCPenney at the former Oak Ridge Mall. The former mall is being redeveloped as Main Street Oak Ridge.
DOE said the AMSE property transfer will save more than $2 million in deferred maintenance costs at the museum and greatly reduce operating expenses. [Read more…]