BMA board picks Columbia firm to head renovation

The Baltimore Museum of Art on Tuesday night selected Synthesis, a Columbia-based firm, to serve as project manager and owner's representative for a three-year, $24 million renovation. The museum's board of trustees voted unanimously to hire the company, which also served as the project manager for the American Brewery conversion in East Baltimore and for the expansion of the Maryland Science Center.

As part of its contract, Synthesis will coordinate the selection of the architectural and construction management firms and will assist the museum in completing the project on schedule and on budget. The project includes renovating galleries for three major art collections — contemporary, American and African — as well as improving visitor amenities and upgrading infrastructure.

The museum will remain open during the renovation, though portions will be closed temporarily as work progresses. The contemporary galleries will close starting Jan. 19. Baltimore-based Marshall Craft Associates Inc. on Tuesday was named the lead architect for renovations to the West Wing for Contemporary Art.

Other Synthesis projects include the Catholic Relief Services world headquarters in Baltimore, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation headquarters near Annapolis, and the BlackRock Center for the Performing Arts in Germantown.

The museum renovation is being paid for with a combination of public and private funds, including money raised in its capital campaign, state appropriations and a $1.2 million bond issue approved by city voters this month.

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