Tuesday February 10, 2004
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Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson and Congresswoman Anne Northup joined Louisville Science Center leadership today in announcing the public phase of a $6.7 million, multi-purpose capital campaign that will fund a major new permanent exhibit and provide for future growth, education and financial stability.
The plan calls for:
· $4.3 million for a natural and earth sciences exhibit, THE WORLD AROUND US
· $1 million for the renovation of space in an adjacent building for a Science Education Wing
· $1 million for annual program support and endowment
· $440,000 for facility upgrades, including the IMAX Theatre and Gift Shop.
The prestigious National Science Foundation has awarded $1.6 million to the project, the largest grant ever awarded by NSF to the Science Center. To date, the Science Center has raised over $4.8 million, or 71 percent of the goal, through private donations, government agencies, foundations and corporate giving.
“This capital campaign builds on the phenomenal success of the Science Center over the last 10 years,” said capital campaign co-chair Kent Oyler. “I’m confident that we will maintain our momentum and reach our goal.”
Scheduled to open in summer 2005, THE WORLD AROUND US will feature natural and earth sciences in dynamic, hands-on exhibits that encourage a deeper understanding of the natural world. It will encompass 8,000 square feet on the second floor.
The exhibit will showcase the Science Center’s natural history collections – bringing out of storage reconditioned local favorites such as the polar bears and Egyptian mummy.
The new exhibit will fill all remaining gallery space and displace some offices and storage rooms. The Science Center plans to lease and/or purchase several floors in the adjacent building at 745 W. Main St. and renovate for state-of-the-art science labs and hands-on workshop areas.
Endowment funds will provide for the maintenance and replacement of permanent exhibits.
Upgrades of the IMAX Theatre and Gift Shop will help the Science Center continue to generate a large portion of its operating budget through earned revenues.
“Our exhibits are our classrooms,” said Science Center Executive Director Gail R. Becker. “Science Center educators use these exhibits to build exciting educational programs that expand the science concepts. This capital campaign will make innovative, cutting-edge advancements possible.”
THE WORLD AROUND US will complete the Science Center’s 10-year strategic plan to install three permanent exhibits that embrace all the sciences. The first phase, THE WORLD WE CREATE, opened in June 1997 with interactive stations covering physical sciences and the material world. THE WORLD WITHIN US opened in March 2001, focusing on life science and health. The main lobby and KidZone, the special area for children seven and under, also were renovated.
“The Louisville Science Center plays a vital role in the economic and cultural vitality of West Main Street,” Abramson said. “With this new exhibit and the upgrades to the facility, the Louisville Science Center will offer even more to visitors, including school teachers and students, in the way of creative, hands-on approaches to science education.”
The Louisville Science Center is a nonprofit educational institution dedicated to improving public understanding of science, math and technology through interactive exhibits, films and educational programs. The Science Center houses the first IMAX Theatre in Kentucky, serves more than 550,000 people annually and receives generous support from the Louisville/Jefferson County Metro Government.
The World Around Us exhibit is funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation.