A rendering of the new La Quinta Cultural Campus.
The La Quinta City Council Tuesday approved preliminary design plans for the cultural campus anchored by the La Quinta Museum. (HGA rendering)

The La Quinta City Council Tuesday evening unanimously approved the preliminary design plans for the cultural campus project which will include the La Quinta Museum, Lumberyard Building, casita and a new archive building and art plaza/gathering space.

“I think this is exciting,” Councilmember Kathleen Fitzpatrick said. “I think it’s something that we need to do. We need to do all of it. I think it’s an economic driver for what will be developed in that area and open some doors for people to think about all of that property that we have around there.”

Bryan McKinney, public works director and city engineer, said that while the city has already allocated approximately $3.3 million to the project, staff would be seeking additional funds for the estimated $6.4 million project after the final design and bidding process were completed.

“What a long journey we’ve had to this point,” Matt Austin, design principal and associate vice president at Hammel, Green and Abrahamson (HGA), said. “We remain committed and inspired.”

Austin said the presentation marked a milestone in the project, accounting for 75% of HGA’s work, with the only outstanding pieces being the preparation of construction documents and construction itself.

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“So the sort of mission as we know, very expansive,” he said. “In the master plan, we refined this sort of vision of the project: an immersive, natural and cultural campus [with] a new historical society archive, museum improvements, Cahuilla ethnobotanical garden, arts promenade and cultural oasis.”

The new La Quinta Cultural Campus will include the La Quinta Museum, Lumberyard Building, casita and a new archive building and art plaza/gathering space. (HGA rendering)

Throughout the project are nods to the Cahuilla people, including in the landscaping of the project that Austin said highlights the ancient Cahuilla’s pilgrimage from the high desert down to the low desert and also includes additional nods to the Cahuilla people in the designs seen throughout the outdoor spaces.

“I just want to say that I really like how you’re incorporating the Cahuilla-type of tribal design,” Councilmember Deborah McGarrey said. “I think it helps to bring back some of the culture of where La Quinta came from.”

Also excited about the project was Linda Williams, president of the La Quinta Historical Society, who lauded Austin and his team for taking seriously the needs of the museum and engaging all stakeholders in a way that she hoped would ensure everybody felt welcome.

“I love it, because the museum is a place to tell stories,” she said. “And they have put that into not just what’s going on inside, but they’ve put it into the landscaping. All of that’s telling a story about this desert.”

A full recording of the meeting can be found here on the city’s website.

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Alicia Ramirez is the publisher of TN News and the founder and CEO of its parent company TN News.