Children’s center for technology plans move, upgrade in exhibits

By Elise Mckeown Skolnick

A capital campaign will help finance the move.

YOUNGSTOWN — The Children’s Center for Science & Technology is relocating to the McCrory’s building downtown.

The hands-on museum will occupy the first floor and lower level of the building at 15 Central Federal St. through a subsidized, long-term lease agreement with the building’s owner, First National Bank of Pennsylvania.

The center, formerly called the Children’s Museum of the Valley, is currently at 139 E. Boardman St. It opened in August 2004.

The center will be closed from Dec. 5 until fall 2010, when it will reopen in its new location.

The purpose of the move is to fulfill CCS&T’s mission of creating a regional, hands-on, high-technology center for learning.

When finished, it will be one of the most comprehensive, hands-on interactive children’s museums in the country, said Suzanne Barbati, CCS&T’s executive director.

Plans for the new site are under way.

“Architectural drawings have been developed, and we are working with nationally recognized exhibit designers,” Barbati said.

A capital campaign, “Science Makes Cents,” has begun to raise money for the move.

The project is expected to cost $1.5 million.

Collaboration with Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics [STEM], a major gift from a private donor and numerous foundations and trusts are helping to make the project possible, said Ronald Faniro, CCS&T board president.

A Web site is being developed to update the public as work progresses.

Social media sites will also be used.

Mayor Jay Williams said he’s discussed a potential move with center officials, and is pleased they found a new location.

“They were looking for a facility that is a little bit better logistically and financially beneficial,” he said.

“It’s an important institution for Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. I look forward to the reopening in 2010.”

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