Plans to expand the Ruth Patrick Science Education Center were announced in the USCA Annual Permanent Improvement Project Plan (APIP). Plans call for a 20,000 square foot addition to the existing building. Currently, the facility is an 11,000 square foot structure. The estimated cost for the addition is $2.8 million. Funds for this project will come from federal grant money and private foundation grant money.

As with the original facility, the expanded building must be a model building that will attract attention and stimulate scientific thought. The theme of the building will be energy. The building will be an example of how to use economically and effectively natural lighting, ventilation, and solar heating and cooling to reduce long-term operating costs and consumption of energy. It is anticipated that both active and passive solar energy will be incorporated so that students, teachers and the general public can experience the benefits of alternative forms of energy. Other alternative forms of energy will be used where feasible to demonstrate energy options.

The addition will have a gallery hall that is dedicated to exhibits on energy including nuclear energy and the history of the Savannah River Site and its role in developing technology for alternative energy sources will be displayed. Four large classrooms/laboratories will each be equipped with the latest technologies to make students, teachers, and the general public aware, comfortable and knowledgeable about these technologies. A large computer classroom will be housed on the second floor.

In addition to the gallery and classrooms, 6-8 offices will be added, as well as a small conference room and staff work area. These additions will enable the Center to expand the number and type of programs it offers. It is estimated that with the new facility, the Center will be able to double the number of participants in its programs, from 20,000 to 40,000 per year.

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