Work is well underway on the renovation of the site of the future Iowa Transportation Museum in Grinnell. Museum director Chuck Brook says people might not be able to see it from the outside, but workers are hard at it inside the old Spaulding manufacturing company building.

He says there’s a backhoe and skidloader inside the building right now and a lot of activity. Brook says the first work involves shoring up the foundation of the structure. Brook says they are digging in under the old foundation to firm it up as the original foundation was only about two feet down.

Workers are putting concrete under the old foundation, which he says is a slow process. The building will house the administration of the museum that includes a conference facility on the top floor, displays for the “Transportation Heroes” on the main floor, and the offices and mechanical facilities in the basement. Once the foundation work is completed, they’ll work on the interior structure of the building.

Brook says they have steel beams in to replace the old wooden beams and wooden flood. He says people remember how the old building with the wooden floor would shake when they danced, but it won’t shake once the structure work is done. Once the administration building is completed, the next phase is building a glass atrium that will connect the building to the longer building to the south.

The first phase administration building is scheduled to be completed in November of this year and then the second phase will rehabilitate the south building. The updated south building will house the bulk of the museum’s exhibits. The project is expected to cost $4.2-million to complete.

Find out more about the museum on-line

By Chris Johnson, KGRN, Grinnell