ST. CLOUD -- Planning is underway right now to turn the former Liberty Savings Bank building in downtown St. Cloud into a children's museum. The challenge will be taking three separate buildings, on three floors, and turning them into one cohesive space.

Great River Children's Museum board chair Glen Palm says all three buildings are broken-up into several small former office spaces.

The oldest, the hatchery building, the three-story building, is the one that will take the most work because it's three stories.  We might do this in three phases, so the first floor is where we would obviously start.

The middle part is the newest, that was built in the late 1980s. The northern section is the original bank and hatchery. The southern section is a former car dealership. Palm says, if they decided to utilize the 2nd and 3rd floors, they'll have to replace the staircases and elevator which would be very costly.

You can also still see remnants of the old athletic club on the third floor, including a racquetball court.  Palm says they also just recently discovered a hidden basement area with six rooms in the southern section, which is a former car dealership.

Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Palm says they'll be doing some play, explore and learning labs this summer to help think about the future of the space.

The Great River Children's Museum is hoping to have pre-designs from the architects done by the end of August. The museum probably wouldn't open until a year-and-a-half after that.

The museum is hoping to get some money from the state legislature through the Land & Legacy Amendment, they'll also applied for other grants to help fund the project.

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