Science North's $3.3-million renovation to the science centre's fourth floor is a big hit with R.L. Beattie Public School Grade 6 student Kristian Muinonen.
“I like that they took out old stuff that everybody's already seen and put in new stuff so you can enjoy it even more, and not come here once and say 'I've already seen everything',” he said.
The science centre turns 35 this year, and the one area that had not been dramatically changed in that time was the fourth floor, said Science North science director Julie Moskalyk.
“In November, we shut down 50 per cent of the science centre's fourth level and we gutted it down to the rafters,” she said.
“What you see here is all new. It's completely transformed. It's all new exhibits, experiences, workshops, spaces and interactive areas.”
She said one of the fourth floor “sacred cows” Science North decided it couldn't get rid of was the race car table, so they kept that feature, just purchasing two new updated models.
They've also introduced a Prototype and Innovation Lab, where visitors can borrow equipment to create prototypes. It has “the most amazing tools, from 3D printers, to laser cutters to etchers,” Moskalyk said.
Also referred to as the THINK project, this major renewal of the fourth level of the science centre is the largest investment in this space in Science North's 35-year history, said a press release.
THINK hubs will also be installed by Science North in partner sites in Kenora, Thunder Bay, Fort Frances, Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins.
The renovations were unveiled Feb. 14 during a press conference at the science centre attended by a number of different dignitaries, including all four MPs and MPPs from the Greater Sudbury area, Mayor Brian Bigger, and Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano, who drove in for the occasion.
A recorded message from Michael Tibollo, minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, was also played at the press conference.
Students from a number of Northern Ontario schools did a chain reaction demonstration spanning an entire room.
“The governments have played an important role in making this happen,” said Science North CEO Guy Labine, adding that FedNor invested $1.6 million in the fourth floor renovations, and the NOHFC $1 million.
“Science North is an important place for people to learn, to discover and to innovate, and this renewal of the fourth floor makes it even more relevant and important for people to come, especially those that haven't been here in awhile.
“They'll rediscover some interesting things that we've been able to do.”
The renewed fourth floor of the science centre will be open to visitors Saturday, Feb. 16, just in time for the Family Day long weekend. To purchase tickets visit sciencenorth.ca.