An old skating rink on Joint Base Lewis-McChord will soon find a second life. JBLM’s Children and Youth Programs is partnering up with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma to turn the site into a Children’s Museum satellite annex.

The project, which the two organizations said is the first of its kind on a military installation, broke ground earlier this week.

Brian Marlow, board president, Children’s Museum of Tacoma; Col. Bill Percival, 627th Air Base Group Commander; Col. Nicole Lucas, JBLM Garrison Commander; Tanya Durand, executive director, Children’s Museum of Tacoma; and I Corps’ Command Sergeant Major Walter Tagalicudo break ground for the future home of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma at JBLM. Photo by JM Simpson.

The new building will serve the children of military families with an emphasis on early learners and youth with special needs.

“We have thousands of kids stationed at JBLM, and I can’t think of a better place to create the first on-base children’s museum than Joint Base Lewis-McChord,” said Garrison Commander Col. Nicole Lucas.

According to JBLM, approximately 1,500 families with children under the age of six currently live on base.

“We are so excited to come along side our long-time partners and make this museum a joyful, playful place for families living on Joint Base Lewis- McChord,” added Tanya Durand, executive director of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

The project is supported by a Department of Defense commitment of $1.6 million, plus $4.8 million raised by supporters as part of the Children’s Museum of Tacoma’s More than a Museum Campaign.

The museum annex is expected to open in spring or summer of 2020.