By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4)– The Denver Art Museum hit a major milestone in its renovation project of its North Building on Thursday. The project also calls for a new welcome center.

The $150 million project hopes to create more community space and make guests feel safe as they enter the museum without worrying about traffic on surrounding streets. In addition to the Welcome Center, there will be expanded public gallery and event facilities.

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(credit CBS)

Crews installed the final beam on the museum’s welcome center Thursday morning, completing the metal construction phase of the project.

When renovations are complete, the museum will be able to accommodate more resources for youth and school groups and additional gallery space.

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The new welcome center has been designed to appear more inviting to the public. It will have massive 25-foot windows and a dedicated event space.

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Before workers hoisted that final beam onto the roof, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock and the Denver Art Museum board chair gave it some final autographs.

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(credit CBS)

Dozens of people involved in the project signed their names on the beam before it was hoisted several stories up for installation. This museum leaves its mark on visitors, so the museum director says people who built it should leave their mark on the museum.

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(credit: CBS)

“Four hundred people that we have on the payroll are involved in this somehow. We wanted to make sure they have a piece of the building where they know ‘Oh, that’s mine. I’m there.’ You won’t see the signatures. You’ll know they’re up there and I think that’s a good feeling,” said DAM Director Christoph Heinrich.

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(credit: CBS)

The next phase of construction will include the installation of structural glass around the welcome center. It’s still on track for completion in 2021.

Tori Mason is an award-winning reporter for CBS4 This Morning. Follow her on Twitter @ToriMasonTV.

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