A local arts institution is headed for a location upgrade.
At a news conference next week, an announcement is expected that the Lied Discovery Children's Museum will move into the Smith Center for the Performing Arts, which is under construction and expected to open in spring of 2012.
"They've dreamed about having a building of their own, so it will go hand-in-glove," a source close to the situation said Friday. "It will be good for the Smith Center, good for downtown, good for the city."
The museum, which opened in 1990 and is at 833 Las Vegas Blvd. North, next to the Las Vegas Library, features exhibits in the arts, sciences, nature, music and the humanities, and also hosts traveling exhibits. At the Smith Center, the museum is expected to take up residence on a five-acre parcel at the southwest corner of the Smith Center block of Symphony Park, where a 650-seat theater was originally expected to be built before initial plans were changed.
Details of the move are expected to be announced at Wednesday's news conference at the museum, with participants including Smith Center President Myron Martin, Mayor Oscar Goodman and the museum's executive director, Linda Quinn. Brock Radke, a spokesman for the museum, said officials would not comment until the news conference.
The Smith Center is named for Fred W. Smith, former Las Vegas Review-Journal executive and chairman of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and for his late wife, Mary B. Smith, who passed away in January. The foundation is the principal donor to the $485 million center.
Construction of the Smith Center began in May 2009 at Bonneville Avenue and Grand Central Parkway. Anchoring the center will be a 2,050-seat proscenium theater that will be the permanent home of the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic, as well as host Broadway tours and other arts groups.
Cabaret space for jazz and an intimate black box theater appropriate for children's and community events will also be part of the complex, as well as educational outreach facilities, including classroom space.
"The Smith Center is being built for people who live here, but the message to the world is that Las Vegas has grown up," Martin told the Review-Journal in 2008. "Performing arts centers have proven they can change cities. We've reached critical mass in terms of population. Now we have to satisfy the population."
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0256.