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New home for Cape science centre
2010-11-02 14:35
Duncan Alfreds

Cape Town - The MTN Sciencentre, soon to be renamed to the Cape Town Science Centre, has found a new home.

The centre's new building will be in Observatory, near Cape Town, after the science centre closed its doors at the Canal Walk shopping centre in September this year.

"The search and finalisation of the acquisition of this building as the home of the future Cape Town Science Centre has been a lengthy one, creating critical time pressures on the fund-raising efforts in order to secure the opening of the centre as early as possible in the new year," the centre said in a statement.

"The proximity of the site to the University of Cape Town, the medical school and Groote Schuur hospital, the astronomers at the Observatory as well as other like-minded institutions, all support the opportunity to build a hub of real science enthusiasts in Observatory," said Brian Schreuder, chair of the Science Centre Board.

The new building is in a dilapidated state after having stood vacant for eight years and the science centre will have to do extensive renovation work before the planned public launch date.


"The completion of Phase 1, a large open warehouse space, will ensure that the science centre can open with the bulk of its most popular displays and begin accepting visitors as soon as possible.

"A major element of the refurbishment of Phase 1 will be the replacement of the warehouse roof, which is currently made of asbestos. Phase 2 will largely consist of teaching laboratories, a teacher and careers resource centre, as well as other areas," the centre said.

Despite some support from the Western Cape provincial government, it is unclear where the centre will find the money to complete the first phase of refurbishment by June 2011. It plans to hold a fund-raising campaign.

Despite this though, the centre plans to develop closer ties with schools and has recently established a satellite learning centre in Sutherland, near the Southern African Large Telescope.

According to Professor John H Falk and Professor Lynn D Dierking of Oregon State University, most of science learning takes place outside the classroom.

"On average, only about 5% of Americans' lifetime is spent in the classroom, and only a small fraction of that is dedicated to science instruction, emerging data suggests that the best way to increase the public understanding of science is to reach people during the other 95% of their life," they found in a study.

The Western Cape education department is supporting the science centre this year with an operational grant as it prepares to take its next step. The department is also the sponsor of its mobile unit, the WCED Mobile Sciencentre.

"The hands-on, informal approach to learning, where visitors actively engage in 'discovering' science and become excited about science, making them more receptive to teaching in the classroom, is a key factor that sets science centres apart from other learning institutions," said Julie Cleverdon, director of the MTN Sciencentre.

The MTN Sciencentre will be the host institution for the Sixth Science Centre World Congress, which will take in Cape Town in September 2011.

Source: News24

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Science centre’s new home starts to take shape

August 30 2011 at 12:53pm

Refurbishments have started on the new Observatory home for the Cape Town Science Centre.

Staff Reporter

WHAT looks like an empty warehouse with part of its roof missing is the start of the refurbishment of the Cape Town Science Centre’s new home.

Julie Cleverdon, director of the centre, said they started with refurbishments on the building in Observatory after receiving a R5 million from the Department of Science and Technology. She said the funds would cover phase one ahead of a planned December opening.
The Cape Town Science Centre became the new name of the MTNScienCentre after a 10-year sponsorship deal with the cellphone operator ended last year. It moved from Canal Walk to Observatory, but has been battling to raise funds for the building’s refurbishment and running costs.
LeadSA, an initiative supported by the Cape Argus and Primedia Broadcasting, is supporting the centre’s drive to remain open.
Cleverdon said they had started removing the asbestos roof and would remove alien vegetation.

“A design team from Plascon is plotting exciting colour palettes using paint from their eco-friendly range and a myriad other activities are taking place to complete the refurbishment in time for the planned December opening.”

Cleverdon said phase one included getting the biggest exhibition space in the building ready and making space for those who will share the building with them, like the SA Teen Entrepreneur Foundation and Career Planet.

Getting partners on board was a way for them to make the centre “a hub of creative educational opportunities in the city”.
Cleverdon said their biggest challenge was finding money for operational expenses. “Sadly R800 000 is still needed for the rest of this financial year and operational funding.”
They are appealing to companies to help them with building supplies, including carpets and toilets.
Cleverdon said this was an exciting time for the centre because it was hosting this year’s sixth Science Centre World Congress at the Cape Town International Convention Centre later this week.
“More than 380 delegates from 55 countries attending the world congress will visit the site of the centre’s new home.”
The conference takes place from Sunday to Thursday, September 8, with the theme “Science Across Cultures”.
The aim is to encourage reconciliation between cultures and a greater appreciation of the role science centres can play in highlighting each culture’s contributions to science, technology and science education.
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Science Centre gets new life in new home

December 29 2011 at 01:00pm

Jed Johnson visits the Cape Town Science Centre at its new premises in Observatory with his mother Gillian Johnson.

Staff Reporter
An old warehouse in Observatory has been transformed into Cape Town’s new Science Centre.
The three-storey building on Main Road near Groote Schuur Hospital opened its doors yesterday.
Inside, the walls are covered in quotes from famous scientists like Albert Einstein to liven up the building, which has been standing empty for a decade.
The centre previously operated from Canal Walk, but seemed set to close after its ten-year relationship with MTN ended as planned and it needed new premises.
LeadSA led a campaign to get Capetonians to support their science centre, and the city’s residents and businesses responded.
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