Campaign to bring new attractions to Sci-Port

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SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Sci-Port, Louisiana’s Science Center in downtown Shreveport, has kicked off a new capital campaign to create some new attractions.

Robert Stroud, the campaign’s chairman, announced plans last week to embark on an $8.9 million push to add several features to Sci-Port’s facility, beginning with a new children’s museum.

“We want our children’s museum to look different than one you might see in Florida or Houston or Jackson, Mississippi,” Sci-Port Senior Director of Development & Marketing Jennifer McMenamin said. “If you are dropped inside our children’s museum, you’re really going to get the flavor of Shreveport, you’re going to know you’re in a children’s museum in Shreveport, Louisiana, there will be elements in it that say ‘I’m in Shreveport’.”

The Times (http://bit.ly/1gheMZz) reports the campaign will be implanted through three phases, beginning with the Itty Bitty City, a children’s museum that will be built on the second floor of Sci-Port.

The Itty Bitty City will sport a café, farm, medical center, bank and a veterinarian clinic. Many of the buildings are sponsored by different organizations, such as Chase Bank, and the Southern Hills Animal Hospital.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to make science a fun and enjoyable experience for the children of Northwest Louisiana,” said Drs. Steve and Brad Everson of Southern Hills Animal Hospital. “(The Hospital) will give children a meaningful experience to ideally propel them to want to pursue further science, technology, art and math in their future studies.”

Kids who visit the Itty Bitty City will learn aspects of Louisiana culture such as the tradition of Mardi Gras, and iconic Louisiana culinary dishes like crawfish.

“We’re looking to expand our visitor base, and we found that guardians with smaller children come more often,” Sci-Port President and CEO Ann Fumarolo said. “We’re trying to build our base from zero to one hundred, which is why we’re doing the Science on the Rocks and Titanic programs, to attract older audiences and utilize the facility for the entire community.”

The mock city is expected to cost about $2 million. It likely will open in late fall of 2015.

Following that project will be construction of the Louisiana Gallery, a full renovation of Sci-Port’s current Red River Gallery that’s projected to cost about $4 million. It will exhibit features from beyond the “Sportsman’s Paradise.”

It also will offer a glimpse of the diverse waterways from Shreveport south through Louisiana and into the Gulf. The gallery will explore and celebrate the uniqueness of each region, and examine northwest Louisiana’s local oil and gas roots, as well as its role in economic and workforce development for the future.

The third and final phase of the capital campaign is called “Technology Today,” and is expected to cost just under $3 million.

Phase three is a complete revamping of the technological needs for Sci-Port, and will also incorporate the cost of making the IMAX Dome Theatre digital.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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