Heading Out! – Construction Underway on Dundee Science Centre Refurbishment
Construction is underway as Dundee Science Centre embarks on an ambitious refurbishment programme, including the removal of its giant iconic model head!
As part of its 20th birthday celebrations, bespoke joinery manufacturer and interior fit-out specialists Bentleys Shopfitting are now on site as the Main Contractor for the £2M CONNECT project which will transform the ground floor of the visitor attraction. It is hoped that the refurbishment will be officially unveiled in early 2021.
As construction began, one of the first tasks was the removal of the giant model head which hundreds of thousands of children are thought to have climbed through since the centre first opened in 2000.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has awarded £2M to be shared amongst Scotland’s four Science Centres, to help weather the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Isabel Bruce, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Dundee Science Centre commented, “We welcome this additional funding which will complement our ongoing fundraising drive to safeguard the future of Dundee Science Centre. In these extremely challenging times, our income has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and we are working hard to find solutions which will allow us to open safely in the months ahead.
“In the interim, the delayed start of construction on the redevelopment of our ground floor is now underway, the cost of which had been met prior to COVID-19. We very much hope to re-open in the Autumn and, in the meantime, our priority is keeping our staff and visitors safe and engaged. We are continuing to provide science boxes for some of the city’s most disadvantaged children, cemented by our Home Learning Programme which provided online activities for parents supporting their children during home schooling.”
Science Minister Richard Lochhead added, “Our science centres are a valuable national asset, and even though they are currently closed to visitors, they have continued to deliver STEM learning opportunities through the creative and innovative use of online learning.
“From daily online videos and weekly themed home-learning programmes to stay-at-home science and STEM care packages, they have been providing valuable resources to support parents, teachers and young people during the school closures.
“Science, technology, engineering and maths impact our everyday lives and this has never been more relevant than in the current global pandemic. The huge contributions of Scotland’s STEM-related research and industry have being highlighted nationally and internationally throughout the COVID-19 crisis. This extra money puts our science centres in a stronger position to continue to showcase Scottish research and industry excellence in STEM, inspiring our young people and supporting their learning, while helping Scotland realise its ambitions as a science and innovation nation.”
The Centre is reimagining and upgrading the ground-floor facilities and integrating widening access, transforming the visitor attraction into an even more accessible community hub. The development will see the coffee shop transformed into an inspiring Gathering Place with improved scope for events, talks and workshops celebrating community work, as well as a new welcome area, under 7’s exhibition area, sensory zone and brand new interactive exhibits.
NOTE TO EDITORS
CONNECT is funded by The Inspiring Science Fund, a £30 million capital scheme to support science centres across the UK, helping them rethink what they do and what they offer to the public.
The aims of the fund are to revitalise the offer of existing science centres through capital development, such as new exhibition spaces and learning centres, and the opportunity to develop meaningful and inclusive engagement with under-served and underrepresented audiences, engaging and inspiring new visitors. This opportunity to refresh how science centres are operating will lead to more sustainable business models and contribute to science centre sector development through shared learning.
The scheme is co-funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome.