May 27, 2006
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer
The next big thing at Adriaen's Landing has a new name and a logo, and is 93 percent of the way to its fundraising goal of $150 million.
It's the Connecticut Science Center, formerly the Connecticut Center for Science and Exploration. The center's board of trustees met Friday to discuss everything from exhibit design to projected attendance numbers to the cost of steel.
"I think the name Connecticut Science Center is what the public has branded us," said Theodore Sergi, the center's president and CEO. So that's what stuck. Center officials also said the former name was cumbersome.
The logo has lines that designers said echo the sweep, thrust and stability of the building's architecture. Its colors - blue, green and purple - were chosen because of their connection to the technical sciences, the Earth and its environment, and the imagination.
Friday's board meeting began with a presentation from the exhibit designers, who say they are halfway through the design process for the center's dozen galleries. That process should be done by August, they said.
Sergi told the board that the center's revised attendance and revenue numbers reflect a desire to hold the financial line. Its last master plan projected an $8.46 million annual operating budget and 360,000 paying visitors; the new master plan projects a $7.9 million budget and 325,000 paying guests.
"I think we've been cautious, maybe even conservative," Sergi said. "We would prefer to open in a position where we would know we would be OK financially."
"The goal is clearly to under-promise and over-perform," said Henry A. McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc.
The center is also projected to seek $1.4 million in public funding, about 17 percent of its budget, from a variety of local, state and federal funding sources.
Sergi said the industry average of public funding toward an annual operating budget is 25 percent.
"Starting next year, we will be at the General Assembly asking the governor ... to consider us and to compete with all the other public needs on an annual basis," Sergi said. "The test remains in the next year and a half to make the case that we can compete with all of the other needs for public support."
The state is contributing about two-thirds of the $150 million needed for the project. The remainder comes from corporate and private donations.
Construction of the science center has begun and is expected to be completed in 2008.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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