Director leaving Children’s Museum |

Director leaving Children’s Museum

Sandi Hoover

Jim Peckham, executive director of two prominent Carson City organizations – Friends In Service Helping and the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada – said Wednesday he will leave the Children’s Museum on Dec. 31 to be able to devote more time to helping FISH through a tough time.

“I need to focus more on FISH because of the impact it has on the community,” Peckham said. “With a 50 percent increase in clientele and a building coming up on the end of its financing, I just think I need to focus on it.”

Peckham said he will miss the museum, however.

“I have mixed feelings because I’ve been at the museum for five years. It was on the verge of closing, and now it’s stable, and we’re making improvements like adding a new park and third floor,” he said.

Peckham said museum volunteer and board member Luana Olson will act as interim director for a couple of months before the board considers finding a permanent replacement.

“I’ll also be available to help make it a smooth transition,” he said.

Children’s Museum board member Penny Holbrook said she understands Peckham’s decision and has enjoyed working with him.

“I’m going to miss him like crazy. I just love him. He wasn’t just a director here; he could do anything, even fix things,” Holbrook said. “Ours is a fun thing, but what he’s doing at FISH is more important to the community.”

The FISH building’s 10-year loan has a balance of $1.76 million, with a monthly payment of $15,000, and is up in 2016.

Ideally, Peckham said, he would like to be able to get a loan at 5 percent rather than the current 7.75 percent.

“We owe $1.76 million, and I’d like to get that down o $1.4 million. That could save us $3,000 to $4,000 a month, and that’s money that could be going to our clients,” he said.

Also, with property values continuing to fall, its original appraisal value of $2.5 million has dropped. The latest appraisal is $1.8 million.

Either way, Peckham said, FISH will be looking at some heavy fundraising over the next few years for a downpayment, which likely will be at a 70/30 ratio rather than the 20/80 it has been for many years.

“We’ll have to raise several hundred thousand dollars,” he said.

“All this has a big impact on FISH, so we need to take this to another level. We’ve fixed the shelters and the parking lots, but the elephant in the room is the loan,” Peckham said.