New Children's Museum Park

Turning a Small Site Into a Big Attraction

A new multi-use public park provides San Diego’s downtown residents and visitors of all ages a space to unleash their imaginations and contemplate the art of play. Taking advantage of a triangular parcel in front of the New Children’s Museum and the Convention Center, the artfully landscaped one-acre site also offers the museum an open-air venue for special events.

Harris provided construction management services, including inspection and office engineering, and the site now features a reading circle, 88 pear trees and palms, shrubs, ground cover, low-maintenance succulents, low-water-need Bermuda grass and an efficient irrigation system.

Core Elements

The $3.2 million project included:

  • Six steel structures, three of them shade trellises, some with seatwalls
  • Steel, aluminum and fiberglass reinforced plastic panels
  • Asphalt paver and concrete walkways
  • Electrical lighting systems with downlights in trellis areas and traffic intersection illumination
  • Playground equipment and rubberized surfacing

Beyond the Blueprints

Working entirely within a small site in a busy downtown area required innovative approaches to stockpiling materials, resolving complex utility-line issues and scheduling work and cleanup.

Harris also redesigned the storm drain system and fence structure and shifted footings to allow access to transit system and utility transformer connections, a gas main and a sewer line—all of which ran through the work site.

The museum couldn’t afford to miss a beat during construction, and Harris kept a close eye on scheduling to keep work, noise and debris from interfering with gala fundraisers, conventions and the nearby filming of commercials. And when an artist redesigned a climbing structure, Harris coordinated changes to the equipment, surfacing and other structures—and kept the project on schedule and within budget.

Meet the Team

Christopher Dunne

Christopher Dunne

Vice President / Program + Construction Management


Civic San Diego


San Diego, CA




Construction Management




"Best Buildings" Project Achievement Award (new construction less than $10 million) - CMAA San Diego