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When all the stars align . . .


Challenger Learning Center at the SAC Scobee Planetarium
Overview: February 17, 2012

June:  The Brooks Heritage Foundation once again shows its support for the CLC by their generous donation for STEM scholarships, to underwrite the first missions flown at the Center and to provide for a Teacher of the Year Award.

May:  Ground is broken for the renovation of the Scobee Planetarium and construction of the Challenger Learning Center.  Speakers included SAC President Dr. Robert Zeigler, Alamo Colleges Chancellor Dr. Bruce Leslie, Mike Beldon of the Alamo Colleges Foundation Board, Blakely Fernandez of the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees, Pam Peterson of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education and Jim Perschbach, advisory committee chair.  Congressman Lloyd Doggett, Vice President of College Services David Mrizek and Planetarium Coordinator Bob Kelley joined the speakers to turn the first shovel of dirt for the project.

SAC leadership and consultants begin the process of recruiting a campaign committee.

All members of SAC’s Executive Team confirm their support of the CLC through personal contributions to the project. 

April:  A Challenger Learning Center Advisory Committee is formed.  Industry representatives, community leaders and education professionals will advise and direct the programming of the CLC to ensure it is meeting the needs of the city and students.  Jim Perschbach, former chair of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Aerospace Committee, agrees to chair the committee.

March (TBD): Scobee Planetarium at San Antonio College (SAC) scheduled to close temporarily for renovations; simultaneously, the college will progress with plans to add a Challenger Learning Center (CLC) for Space Science Education.

January-February: College leadership informing city and county leaders of the project; cultivating prospective partners, donors and campaign volunteers; and continuing to plan fundraising, determine budgets and timelines.

December: Dr. June Scobee Rodgers agrees to be honorary campaign chair.

November: Consultants present feasibility study final report based on responses from 48 interviews with community leaders, college and/or previous CLC donors, and individuals from the aerospace and technology industries, as well as college employees and students. Study determines that $7 million goal is attainable and SAC is a great location for a CLC.

July-September: SAC works with consultants to conduct feasibility study.

July: Alamo Colleges secures $60 million in Alamo Community College District Maintenance Tax Notes for improvements at its five colleges. A total of $5 million is allocated to renovate the SAC Planetarium.

April: SAC leadership works with Alamo Colleges Foundation to develop fundraising plans, which includes hiring consultants for a feasibility study to determine if a capital campaign would be achievable.

March: SAC leadership meet with college faculty and representatives from area school districts and Region 20 to determine interest.

January: Consultants deliver a business plan showing the project would be sustainable.

August: Brooks Aerospace Foundation formally donates $30,000 to begin architecture concepts to add a Challenger Learning Center to the Scobee Planetarium at SAC.

SAC and the Alamo Colleges make significant investments for consultants to develop a business plan to determine project sustainability, and architecture plans and design documents for a renovated Planetarium.

May: An unsolicited, unexpected Express-News editorial declares San Antonio College IS the “perfect home for the Challenger Learning Center,” and it names the children of San Antonio as the “biggest beneficiaries.”

April: CLC (national) and Brooks Aerospace Foundation (local) bring idea to relocate the Challenger Learning Center of San Antonio to SAC.

Contact @ SAC:
David Mrizek, Vice President of College Services or (210) 486-0937
February 17, 2012

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) link to guest bloggers.