116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Moving the massive Czech & Slovak Museum & Library would be a first in more than one sense, but not an untested task.
Jeremy Patterson Structural Movers, of Washington, Iowa, which consulted with museum officials on moving plans, has hauled thousands of buildings.
The company was the mover behind the heaviest building moved two years ago, the Murillo Building, a 741-ton, three-story brick apartment complex in Des Moines.
It also holds records for the widest structure moved and for moving the most square footage on a single floor.
If Patterson receives the contract to move the Czech museum, at 200 feet long and 90 feet wide, it would be the largest museum ever moved, said Rod Scott, a spokesman for Patterson. At about 1,500 tons, it could also be the heaviest.
“This is a huge engineering feat,” Scott said. “This has never been done before.”
Museum leaders confirmed plans Thursday to move the iconic red-roofed building from the banks of the Cedar River.
The 18,000-square-foot structure will be incorporated into the total size of the new 60,000-square-foot exhibition center and library that will be built by 2012, said museum president and CEO Gail Naughton.
“We see this as the best, most viable option for this building,” she said. “We think it will be a symbol of rebirth for the city.
Czech Village was hard-hit by the June 2008 floods. More than half of the businesses have been restored and reopened.
The wood-frame museum with brick veneer will be moved in one piece, likely next fall, said Gary Rozek, museum board chairman. The building weighs 1,400 tons.
The exact location hasn't been decided, but will be in the area of the Riverside Roundhouse, 1350 A St. SW, not far from the existing building at 30 16th Ave. SW.
Eight feet of water flooded the museum last year, damaging a number of artifacts.
Both the new and old buildings will be elevated 3 feet above the 2008 flood level - 11 feet high - with parking underneath.
Although built above the flood plain, insurance problems created difficulties keeping the existing museum on the Cedar River. That area may become parkland.
About 75 people attended Thursday's announcement at the museum. The building has been used for storage since being gutted after the 2008 flood.
Estimated cost of the new building is $20 million. Moving the current museum would be about $740,000. The neighboring immigrant house also will be moved.
The museum obtained $10 million in I-JOBS funding, with fundraising planned for the remainder, Naughton said.