Catalina Connection

Catalina Island Museum construction project requires innovative thinking

Catalina Island Museum construction project requires innovative thinking

AVALON – The construction crew working on Catalina Island Museum’s Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building hit a hurdle due to the Island’s Stage 2 drought status.

The museum’s construction team, Christopherhill Development, proactively set out to look for a solution that would lessen the burden of construction on the island’s dwindling water supply.  Catalina Island faces one of the most severe droughts in more than 100 years.

“We are keenly aware of the water crisis this community is facing,” said Mike Flynn, owner of Christopherhill Development. “We have worked out an arrangement with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to purchase water on the mainland and ship it to the Island. A meter has been added to a hydrant located near Catalina Freight Line in Wilmington. 120 water totes have been obtained for transport. Each tote holds approximately 275 gallons of water and will be barged back and forth as needed. With the use of these totes, not one drop of potable water from Avalon will be used for the remainder of the museum’s construction project.”

The solution will save the island 33,000 gallons of water needed to mix the rest of the concrete for the museum’s new building. With Flynn’s help, other local companies have followed suit. The Santa Catalina Island Company has also purchased 120 totes to supply water for their current construction projects happening throughout Avalon.

“The Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building is already considered unique for a museum building due to the use of prefabricated materials in its design,” said Michael De Marsche, the museum’s executive director. “We are proud to be a leading example of innovative solutions for our community as we face additional water rationing and restrictions in the coming months.”

Designed by the architectural firm of Marengo Morton Architects of La Jolla, the construction of the Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building will expand the present museum’s space by more than 8,000 square feet. Exhibition space will more than double with spaces dedicated to plein air painting, Catalina Island history and special exhibitions traveling to the museum from around the world. Amenities in the new building will include a spacious entrance lobby and visitor center, a digital theater, an atrium and sculpture garden, an expansive museum store, and a vault area dedicated to staff offices, storage and research.

The building is slated to open in early 2015.  For more information, visit

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