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Kidzu Children’s Museum will relocate to University Square

A local children’s museum is temporarily relocating in anticipation of building a new site on Rosemary Street.

Kidzu Children’s Museum, located at 105 E. Franklin St., announced it will temporarily move down the street to University Square in mid-June.

The museum’s last day in its current location is May 1.

The museum will move in to the space currently occupied by Franklin Street Yoga Center after the center moves to another location within University Square.

Kidzu Board of Directors Chairman Dennis Schaecher said the University Square location will not affect the museum’s operations.

“It’s a pretty similar space, so in terms of exhibits and activities, we don’t feel like there will be much of a compromise,” Schaecher said.

“It’s bright and open and has free parking outside. This is a really good setup.”

The temporary space will have to be reworked to fit Kidzu’s needs, said Tina Clossick, the museum’s director of operations and programing.

“There are walls in places that we don’t want them,” she said.

Raleigh resident Laura Burke and her five-year-old son Gabriel Stranksy, who played at Kidzu Tuesday, said they visit the museum about five times a year.

Burke said the museum’s current location is convenient, with the exception of parking.

“That is definitely a deterrent here,” she said.

But Burke said she didn’t think Kidzu’s relocation is necessary.

“The museum doesn’t need to be bigger.”

While at its temporary location, the museum will continue its fundraising efforts to build a permanent site on the Wallace Parking Plaza.

The Rosemary Street location is targeted to be completed in 2014 and will be at least seven times larger than the current space.

The museum plans to raise between $11 million and $11.5 million for the design and construction of the 15,000-square-foot building.

Kidzu’s current space is a 2,700-square-foot former storefront.

Jonathan Mills, a board member and the fundraising chairman for Kidzu, said the museum has currently raised $5.3 million.

The Chapel Hill Town Council voted unanimously in November 2009 to offer Kidzu the Wallace parking deck location, valued at $4 million. The museum will pay $1 per year for a 99-year lease for the space.

Mills said children’s museums are cornerstones to many major university towns.

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“The town’s leadership are supportive of families in the community, and saw the value of having a children’s museum downtown,” Mills said. “It’s important for the image of Chapel Hill to bring parents and children together.

“It’s good to have a mix, not just bars or pizza shops or T-shirt shops.”

Assistant City Editor Sarah Glen contributed reporting.

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