- Associated Press - Friday, May 27, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - The Bismarck City Commission has extended a land deed for a proposed $36 million science center by more than two years, to give the Gateway to Science organizers more time to raise money.

The Bismarck Tribune reports (https://bit.ly/25m3ZaL ) that fundraising for the 65,000-square-foot facility has been slower than expected. The groundbreaking deadline has been moved from this coming August to December 2018.

Bismarck State College President Larry Skogen attributes the fundraising problems to the economic climate in North Dakota, which has been hurt by the slumping oil industry.

“Like with most projects, the economy is giving us a challenge,” said Beth Demke, executive director of Gateway to Science. “Our board made a decision not to break ground until we raised half of the money.”

Supporters of the science center have raised about $8 million, which includes a $5 million grant. Demke says another $19 million in donations is pending. Demke believes the larger gifts are simply on pause as people wait out the economy and said that project organizers are dedicated to following through.

The project will move the Gateway to Science program from 1810 Schafer Street to a 65,000-square-foot building. Organizers are aiming to make it a destination site for all ages that can demonstrate how the sciences are applied throughout the community.

Organizers have reduced building costs from $40 million to $36 million and aim to lower them further with some engineering changes, according to Demke, who assured original elements planned for the project are still in place.


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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