Another year may be required for crews to move the John Hutchings Museum of Natural History into its new home, while architects work on a restoration plan that the city can afford.

In October, members of the Lehi City Council voted to reject all bids submitted to the city for internal restoration of the Lehi Memorial Building, 51 N. Center, the proposed new home for the museum. Some of the bids were more than double what city leaders were planning to pay.Architects from Salt Lake's Cooper/Roberts firm have completed several surveys of the building, including one in late 1991 that was done as part of a historical preservation project. They found it would cost the city a little more than $400,000 to make it completely habitable.

However, bids submitted by companies for the restoration ranged from a low of $622,000 to a high of nearly $900,000. Consequently, members of the Hutchings Museum Board have met with architects to pare down renovation costs.

"The city has committed itself to restore that beautiful old building, but maybe we're going to have to cut some things out to make (restoration) possible," said Harvard Hinton, president and director of the museum board.

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For instance, the plan now includes possibly razing the former ambulance garage building (cutting between $50,000 to $60,000 from the total project cost), modifying the electrical design (trimming another $100,000) and other miscellaneous changes that would have made the lowest earlier bid more affordable, Hinton said.

Hutchings officials hope to re-bid in February, with the work taking eight to 10 months.

City leaders plan to pay off the project with a loan from the Bank of American Fork. Already, the city has been setting aside $50,000 annually for a loan repayment, and officials will also use grants - including $25,000 of the $35,000 Lehi received in Utah County restaurant tax proceeds - they receive.

After the museum moves into the Memorial Building, several city departments will move into the old museum site, 685 N. Center.

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