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Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone facts for kids

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Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone
Front of GWIZ Building
Front of GWIZ Building
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Former names Selby Public Library (1976-1998)
Alternative names GWIZ Building
General information
Status Demolished
Type Government library, museum
Location Sarasota, Florida
Address 1001 Boulevard of the Arts
Country United States
Completed 1976
Opened
  • June 24, 1976 (Library)
  • August 26, 2000 (GWIZ)
Renovated 2000
Closed September 2012
Demolished May 2019
Owner Sarasota
Technical details
Floor count 2
Floor area 30,000 sq ft (2,800 m2)
Design and construction
Architect Walter Netsch
Architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Renovating team
Architect Dale Parks
Renovating firm D/Parks Architect

The Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone, referred to as G.WIZ or GWIZ, is a defunct science museum located in Sarasota, Florida neighboring the Sarasota Bay. The museum was in operation from August 2000 to September 2012. The museum was home to the Blivas Science & Technology Center.

History

The science museum began in December 1990 as a 1,000-square-foot (93 m2) room within the Florida West Coast Symphony building under the name Gulf Coast World of Science (GCWS). The nonprofit organization moved to a bigger location after it was awarded a 20 year lease with the Sarasota City Commission in January 1998. The location was the former Selby Public Library.

The building was originally home to Selby Public Library, after the library moved from the Chidsey Library, in 1976. The building was designed by Walter Netsch from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and incorporated his "Field Theory" aesthetic. The library relocated its operations to downtown Sarasota in 1998. The building was then remodeled, GCWS renamed to Gulfcoast Wonder & Imagination Zone (GWIZ), and the new museum opened to the public on August 26, 2000.

Closure

The science museum abruptly closed to the general public in September 2012. GWIZ's website at the time announced renovations were coming and stated “We are working hard to bring you GWIZ 2.0!” However, the nonprofit organization was also in default to the city's lease. The lease of the building to GWIZ was officially terminated by the city on September 21, 2013. The building sat vacant until its demolition in 2019.

Demolition

A master plan of the redevelopment project for the Sarasota Bayfront area known as "The Bay" was approved by the Sarasota City Commission on September 6, 2018. The project's initial phase included demolishing the GWIZ building in place of a recreational pier as well as a pedestrian bridge over US 41. The building was demolished in May 2019.