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Science Center Finally Has a Permanent, New Home

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The Science Center may have wandered a bit in search of a new home after the flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids. But the organization and science exhibits that were flooded out in June of that year will wander no longer. The group now has a new, permanent home.

The Science Center, then Science Station, was located on 1st Street S.E. across from the main Cedar Rapids Library when the high water came. The organization initially moved to several spots inside Lindale Mall as a temporary home. Temporary in this case last about five years. But as of next week, the group will have a new home of its own at 5824 Council Street N.E.

Norah Hammond, Science Center Executive Director, said the center was probably the last of the non-profit organizations downtown to find a new home post flood. And while the temporary locations inside Lindale Mall did serve a purpose it was time for the group to find a new home.

"We're very excited, there's opportunity ahead and we're anxious to get into our new home and build on that vision we have for the future of our organization," Hammond said.

The Science Center, since last winter, was located in a lower level at the mall. Until then, it had both that lower level location and a ground level storefront. On Monday, a normally closed day, museum staffers and volunteers helped movers load up exhibits and supplies for the short trip to its new home.

The new Science Center location on Council Street was originally a grocery store and more recently an office building for Rockwell Collins. The Science Center board has a lease on the new building with an option to purchase. Hammond said once the group is settled in, they'll begin a campaign to raise funds to purchase the building.

At 31,000 square feet, the new home of the Science Center will be nearly ten times larger than the current mall space. In addition to the existing exhibits, the center will also set up a large "maker space" in a part of the building. That will be an area with machinery and equipment that do-it-yourselfers, entrepreneurs and others can use to design and build equipment or products. The space will eventually have 3D printers, plasma and CNC machines and other industrial-type equipment.

The center will close the entire week of September 9-13 for the move and leaders hope to reopen sometime next week.

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