KAMLOOPS – A well loved science program is in the process of reassembling about 130 hands-on, interactive displays after moving about one kilometre south this summer.
The Big Little Science Centre was informed it would have to move earlier this year after School District 73 recognized the need for more room for the growing Twin Rivers Education Centre and Four Directions storefront. It is the fourth move in just over four years for the not-for-profit science program.
Employees and volunteers started packing up and moving mid June but the last two weeks the science centre has been closed as it takes part in choreographed chaos as the group switch locations with the education centre, trying to open up room in one former school space so there is room for more materials to be moved over so more room can be opened in the other former school.
Several science centre employees have been aided by daily volunteers, on average 4-6 of them, in moving everything between the two locations and sorting through boxes of gear. A larger group of volunteers, students and employees from a local school, were on hand for the big moving day.
A smaller space means coming up with creative solutions for fitting in the displays or deciding which displays to get rid of, as well as working to reconfigure the shows and labs to fit into four rooms, executive director Gord Stewart says.
“We have less space, so we've had to get rid of some stuff.” Stewart says. “It will be about six months to fully open, to figure out the logistics of everything. It took that long at the last location.”
While there was originally some worry about cost because the newer space has more facilities, such as electrical outlets and sinks, the new space is actually smaller which has made rent costs less, Stewart says.
The cheaper rent will help offset the loss in revenue from being closed for two weeks but Stewart is still worried about people knowing they are reopening the hands-on portion of the program next week and that camps will also begin the following week. The alternative was closing for most of the summer while the move and set up took place, but Stewart says that just wasn't an option they wanted to entertain.
Camps are not yet full and though they are starting later this year by almost two weeks there will still be a total of five camps this year. With three still open to the public, a senior camp and two robotics camps, Stewart hopes the camps will fill up and notes they are taking registrations at the new location, 655 Holt Street.
In the midst of the move Stewart says the group is still putting out feelers about obtaining a permanent location. While he is very appreciative of the district accommodating the program, it is only an annual lease and with the former school being the last extra space the school district has he is unsure of just how long there will be this extra room for the science centre.
Starting Tuesday, July 9, the science centre will return to normal hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.
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