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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Design plans in motion for science center

    The virtual renderings depict the proposed Canyon Exhibit for the Arizona State Museum and UA Science Center.
    The virtual renderings depict the proposed Canyon Exhibit for the Arizona State Museum and UA Science Center.

    After more than three years of development, the plans are official and the groundbreaking is just months away for a dynamic new facility that will merge the past with the future, all under one roof.

    Plans for the design of an innovative downtown facility that will host a new UA Science Center and off-campus expansion of the Arizona State Museum were unveiled publicly Wednesday to a full crowd at the University Services Annex Building.

    The UA Science Center and Arizona State Museum facility was announced to open in mid-2011 by executives of the UA design team and architect Rafael Viñoly-Menendez, project director and head of Rafael Viñoly Architects based in Los Angeles, Calif. Groundbreaking is set to begin this summer.

    The conjoined facility will cost $130 million, a drastic improvement over the original estimate of $250 million if the facilities were built separately.

    The UA Science Center and Arizona State Museum project will be located in the heart of Rio Nuevo downtown as part of Tucson’s redevelopment plans.

    The facility will include multiple exhibits, an observatory, unispherium and IMAX theater.

    An original project-planning meeting was held in October 2007, where the design team encouraged community members to get involved and provide input and design ideas.

    Planners said they hoped the facility will help create a new atmosphere and positive changes for Tucson’s downtown culture.

    “”Our first priority is to connect the university with the community,”” assistant vice president for facilities design and construction Bob Smith said, who lead the presentation. “”Conjoining these two facilities allows us to be more efficient, save a lot of money on this project, and allows us to provide a lot more programs (in our plans) as well.””

    The science center will feature exhibits on everything from “”cancer research, global warming, exploration of our universe, to a better explanation of how our brains actually work,”” executive director of the design team Alexis Faust said.

    Planners said they envision an interactive learning environment for students and local residents of all ages to explore.

    “”This will be Tucson’s new joining of history, science and technology,”” Viñoly-Menendez said.

    “”The science center will provide windows into all of our research elements of the University of Arizona,”” Smith said. “”You can have an experience that lasts for days.””

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