Sunday, May 04, 2008

Science Center Breaks Ground on New Addition

The Detroit Science Center, in collaboration with The Thompson Educational Foundation (TEF), broke ground last week on an 80,000 square-foot addition to the museum. The addition will house University Prep Science & Math Middle School, a public charter school that will serve 486 students, as well as a new museum lobby, cafe, gift shop and group welcome center.

The partnership between the Detroit Science Center and University Prep Science & Math (UPSM) will provide a unique opportunity for students and teachers to combine classroom learning with hands-on exhibits, dynamic theater shows and in-depth museum programs on a daily basis. UPSM plans to open a high school at another location in 2010.

The TEF is funding the $15 million middle school construction project and will lease the building to UPSM for $1 per year under an agreement that requires the charter school system to graduate no fewer than 90 percent of its students and send no fewer than 90 percent on to college.

"Our goal at the Detroit Science Center is to inspire children to get excited about engineering, technology and science and to encourage them to pursue careers in those fields. It's a natural step in the evolution of the Detroit Science Center to be affiliated with a school where we can not only inspire these children on a daily basis, but see them apply that inspiration back in the classroom," said Kevin F. Prihod, President & CEO of the Detroit Science Center.

Construction on the new addition is starting this month with a spring 2009 opening. It will be located on the north side of the Science Center building in an area formerly utilized for parking. The architect is Gunn Levine. The general contractor is DeMaria. Both companies are based in Detroit.

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