Biz Buzz: Children’s Museum gets new director

Michelle Jenkins, 42, of Creston has been appointed executive director of the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum. She has been interim executive director since January.

In carrying out her responsibilities, Jenkins will also act as development manager and business director — reflecting a restructuring that the museum underwent early this year. At that time, Executive Director Roy Mueller left the post he had held for four years.

“We are creating a leaner, meaner organization,” Jenkins said.

The museum has created a half-time education manager position, which will be held by Mission College Prep teacher Jaimie Reed, who will create enhanced programming that meets state curriculum requirements.

Since January, Jenkins has developed a new pricing and membership structure to make the museum more accessible to school groups and the general public. She has also established a reciprocal membership benefit so members can access other children’s museums across the United States for free.

Before closing for reconstruction in 2004, the museum saw a peak of 40,000 visitors a year. This year, projections indicate the museum will have 44,000 visitors, said Jenkins, who is confident that new exhibits — such as “The Energy of Motion,” a redesign of the “Big Bubble” and outdoor installations — will increase attendance.

The museum is staffed by the equivalent of seven full-time employees, and is in need of volunteers. It’s located at 1010 Nipomo St. in downtown San Luis Obispo. For current exhibits, activities, programs and hours visit

— Julia Hickey

Six of 14 Cuesta contracts are local

Cuesta College recently announced that local companies make up six of the 14 contractors that won bids for construction of the school’s newest building — the Dale J. Schwartz Learning Resource Center.

The 42,500-square-foot, two-story center will be the second permanent structure at Cuesta College’s North County campus, featuring a library, gallery, lecture hall to seat 260, classrooms and program and faculty offices.

The project construction will be managed by Blach Construction Co. of Santa Clara and was designed by PMSM Architects, which has an office in Paso Robles. BFGC-IBI Group Architecture Planning of San Luis Obispo will provide construction administration.

The following companies will also participate: Wysong Construction of Atascadero; Newton Construction of San Luis Obispo; RF Koerber Inc. of Paso Robles; Electricraft of San Luis Obispo; Brannon DBA Smith Electric Service of Santa Maria; Precon Industries of Santa Maria; Cosco Fire Protection; J. Albanese Inc.; Bratton Masonry Inc; Kasco Fab Inc; and American Inc.

The building is named after Dale Schwartz, a longtime Paso Robles resident and friend of the college. Construction is expected to be complete by May 2012.

— Julia Hickey

Camp to teach girls about construction

The National Association of Women in Construction Central California Coast Chapter will conduct its first MAGIC Camp — Mentoring A Girl In Construction — from June 21 to 25 at Cal Poly.

The free event is organized by the Cal Poly Construction Management Department and the California Center for Construction Education and will introduce local female high school students to careers in the construction industry.

Campers will receive an introduction to basic skills of construction, architecture, engineering, construction management and heavy equipment operation. The Central California Coast Chapter of NAWIC is seeking financial sponsors for the event.

To learn more about the camp, call 736-5160.

— Julia Hickey