SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento city council members will soon decide whether a million-dollar investment in a science center is worth the taxpayer money. The council will vote on developing a new powerhouse science center in an old building in a high-profile location.
PG&E River Station B is a grand building that sits on the banks of the Sacramento River. A power regenerating plant more than 100 years ago, the building is being targeted for million-dollar renovations by a local organization.
Powerhouse Science Center CEO Harry Laswell hopes the building, now with boarded up windows and a large pigeon population, will soon be given another chance, this time to showcase science education to residents, visitors, and countless students on field trips.
Laswell describes the plans for the inside which would include three floors and “a 40 food diameter planetarium dome that seats 100 people.”
But turning this place into a science center covering 50,000 square feet won’t be cheap. It’ll cost $52 million, plus additional funds that include public and private monies, and help from the city.
“We’re looking for a contribution of $1 million a year over a 30 year period that will be used for bond repayment, plus a few million dollars for upfront capital,” says Laswell.
He admits that’s a lot of money but not when it comes to other projects the city has helped fund recently.
“The city put over $200 million into the Golden 1 Center, I think that was a great investment,” he said.
On a field trip with her daughter’s fourth 4th-grade class, parent Tasha McLaughlin says she thinks it’s worth it for the city to invest in a science showplace. She says the current center doesn’t have technological advances it should and the new location’s exhibits will inspire generations to come.
“I think we have amazing facilities stadium-wise for all sports, and government buildings, but I think we need to tune ourselves to where we look at our future,” said McLaughlin.
The council will vote on the bond funding at its Tuesday council meeting. Public comment will come before that vote