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Gateway to Science Plans Expansion

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Ninety exhibits are crammed into the 3,200 square foot Gateway to Science Gallery.

"Many of them are much closer together than they should be. Many of them much smaller than they could be if we had different space that would allow us to really explore the concepts we are trying to demonstrate," says executive director Beth Demke.

And more space is exactly what the gallery will be getting, Demke says plans to build a 50,000 square foot science complex are underway. A $5 million grant from the state legislature is helping get the process started, but barely makes a dent in the $30 million expected cost.

"The grant helps, but we are launching a capital campaigning event this spring," says Demke.

Since 2005 the annual attendance has more than doubled while the exhibit space has remained the same. And Demke says she's hoping with the new facility and new exhibits, the growth will just continue.

"If we grow our space we expect that will increase the number of exhibits and the types of exhibits," says Demke.

Demke says that new exhibits will focus on science that goes on in North Dakota, to help kids make connections between science and possible future careers.

"Energy, transportation, something on the river, healthcare and agriculture which is the biggest industry in the state and lots of science behind that," says Demke.

Demke says that the new facility will include a laboratory classroom, domed theater and hopefully an outdoor trail system. Building is expected to begin spring 2015.

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