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September 30, 2014

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Henderson City Council OKs $1.5 million for science museum

The Henderson City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $1.5 million operating budget for the Henderson Space and Science Center for fiscal 2012.

The majority of the budget — $1.2 million — would be paid to architects Tate Snyder Kimsey RAFI to design an 87,000-square-foot museum on the planned Union Village campus, near U.S. 95 and Galleria Drive.

About five acres on the southeast corner of the $1.5 billion, 151-acre Union Village project will be devoted to the science museum. About $25 million was allotted from the city’s land fund in 2009 to help build the science center, expected to cost $63 million.

The council has been doling out the money in allotments so it can keep track of how the money is spent. As a stipulation for approving next year’s $1.5 million budget, council members requested that museum board members submit a capital campaign plan within 90 days that outlines how they plan to raise $40 million to complete the project.

“We’d like to see the project succeed, but the only way to be successful is to determine if it’s feasible and to determine the plan to raise the money,” Councilwoman Debra March said. “It’s going to require significant private investment.”

Councilwoman Kathleen Boutin, noting the tough economic times the city faces, said, “We made a commitment to partially fund this project, which we have every intention of upholding. But we have to have some plan in place that assures us the space and science center meets us halfway.”

Museum representatives and board members Larry Carroll and Jack Clark said they plan to have a detailed fundraising plan ready by September. It will likely include a mix of exhibit sponsorships, private donations and grants, they said.

The museum board plans to use the remainder of the 2012 budget — about $300,000 — to attend more science conferences to network with and learn from other museums. The board also plans to create at least two new positions: an interim executive director and a director of design and construction.

The budget also allots $75,000 for a temporary fall exhibit, which Clark hinted might involve forensic science in partnership with the Henderson Police Department.

Clark said he would like to see the fall exhibit, which would be shown at the Galleria at Sunset mall, created entirely by the museum board.

Previous exhibits, also displayed at the mall, were purchased from exhibit companies, such as Las Vegas-based ExhibitIQ.

Overall, City Council members said, they supported the museum project.

“I believe we are heading in the right direction,” Mayor Andy Hafen said. “I really feel some momentum.”

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