Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota Earns LEED Silver Certification

Aug 30, 2017

Former City transit facility shines as an example of sustainability and creativity

August 29, 2017 (Mankato, Minnesota) – The U.S. Green Building Council recently welcomed the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota to its prestigious list of Silver LEED Certified facilities nation-wide. The LEED program, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, recognizes building design projects that demonstrate exceptional material, performance, energy and power, and water efficiency.

Located along popular Riverfront Drive in downtown Mankato, Minnesota, the facility was the brainchild of a cohort of active community leaders, and reflects more than ten years of collaborative visioning and planning. “Serving as a catalyst for building a stronger, more vibrant community,” as stated in the 501(c)3 non-profit’s vision statement, the organization envisioned a facility that would inspire awe, attract curious families from across the region, and exemplify the best in sustainable design innovation.

Deb Johnson, Senior Director of Education and Exhibits at the Museum, reflected on the intricate, but rewarding process of working to bring this dream to life. “I think back to the early days of meeting in the construction trailer on-site and all the efforts and management going into the decisions to help us reach this point,” she shared. “This award is the final stamp of success on a project that has already brought so much to the Southern Minnesota community.”

The previously existing facility on-site – a City of Mankato transit garage – was creatively restored to accommodate dynamic, multi-floored interior and exterior exhibits. To transform the abandoned space into a bright and lively learning environment, ISG designs maximized natural light by uncovering original windows, and strategically selecting colors and materials that maintained an industrial feel, such as concrete floors and metal structures, while also conveying a fun-filled atmosphere.

From the onset, ISG Associate Principal and Project Architect Paul Lawton AIA, LEED AP wanted to create a facility that not only represented responsible design and construction practices, but also provided sustainable opportunities for users to interact with the space. “Beyond the use of LED lighting, paints with limited volatile organic compounds (VOCs), high efficiency HVAC systems, and other hot industry sustainability trends, we also looked to incorporate elements that promoted eco-friendly use by visitors and staff themselves.” These user-inspired additions, which provided additional LEED credits, range from carpool and fuel efficient vehicle parking to low flow restroom fixtures.

The new facility opened to the public on May 1, 2015. Today, the non-profit continues to offer seasonal, hands-on programming experiences that spark curiosity and reveal the wonders of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math to area and visiting youth.

About The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota

The Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota prides itself in serving as a catalyst for building a stronger, more vibrant community so that all children in the region share in a bright future of opportunity and well-being. With the goal to ignite the natural curiosity of every child through the power of play in a dynamic, awe-inspiring environment, this 501(c)3 non-profit organization provides space for youth to learn and engage. The new Mankato site features place-based exhibits and dynamic hands-on programming, all designed to stimulate inquiry, spark curiosity, and reveal the wonders of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math), while also calling attention to Southern Minnesota heritage and Dakota culture. To learn more about the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, visit


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