With a generous donation from Genesis Birth Center, the Family Museum climbed over the top of its fundraising goal to bring a Luckey Climber to the Bettendorf museum.
Using a blue magic marker, Genesis Medical Center President Jordan Voigt colored the final section of the museum's fundraising thermometer — coloring a little outside the lines. The donation, announced Wednesday, will make the Birth Center the presenting sponsor of the Luckey Climber.
Flanked by museum staff and Bettendorf Mayor Robert Gallagher, Voigt said the Birth Center "was thrilled to partner with the Family Museum" on the new indoor climbing attraction.
"As the father of two young children, (the museum) builds core family values. ... We see it as an extension of our mission," he said of the hospital, where 2,000 babies are born each year.
With his family already regular museum visitors, he expects the Luckey Climber to become a favorite for his daughters, 2 ½-year-old Caroline and 9-month-old Madelyn.
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"We're very proud of the museum staff which continues to innovate and find ways to incorporate learning and play," Gallagher said. "We truly believe that the museum is one of our community's finest family assets and are pleased Genesis Birth Center provided a gracious donation to help us reach our financial goal to bring the Luckey Climber to fruition."
Museum Director Kim Kidwell said construction is expected to begin in the next two weeks with Tricon General Construction Inc., based in Dubuque, now hired to complete the interior work ahead of the climber's installation.
She added that every climber is custom designed and pre-fabricated by Luckey LLC, based in New Haven, Conn.
The Luckey Climber will reach two stories high with platforms for children to climb to the top. The vertical maze will be enclosed inside a seamless netting made from thousands of feet of handwoven vinyl coated steel cable. It will sit inside the museum at the end of the Great Hall, opposite of the main entrance.
"We always thought it would be cool to have one here," Kidwell said, adding it should be completed in mid-March.
The $500,000 project, which included $75,000 in city funding, was supported by fundraising, private donations and grants.
The site preparation work will include new footings, removal of a portion of the second-floor railing for kids to enter and exit from the top of the climber as well as installation of protective glass panels along the railing.