State schools Superintendent Janet Barresi said the expanded museum will build interest in science- and math-related fields among young children. That's a goal the state Education Department is pursuing, as well, she said.
Barresi said she expects the museum will capture students' imaginations and help them use their creative skills.
“It will engage our children at a very early age,” she said. “Those are just the very things that this state needs.”
Along with the addition of the children's hall, museum officials plan to overhaul the way visitors enter and leave the museum. The problem, Otto said, is that the current entrance is more than 500 feet from the area where the children's hall will be located.
“We didn't believe it was right to ask families with young children, particularly, to travel two football fields' length to get to this exhibit,” he said.
As a part of the new plan, the main entrance and lobby will be moved to the west end of the building. Museum officials hired Oklahoma City architect Rand Elliott to design the lobby and revamp the building's exterior.
Replacing the building's current exterior, which Otto described as “concrete motif,” will be an off-white wall that incorporates colored light features. The building's new entrance canopy will be made from colored glass, he said.
Officials are considering incorporating dichroic glass into the new vestibule, Otto said. Dichroic is a type of layered glass that casts different colors of light, depending on where the viewer stands. The planned exterior is meant to reflect the lively, creative atmosphere inside the building, Otto said.