Community Budget Issue Requests - Tracking Id #977FY0001

DOE Educational Technology Equipment Funding












Challenger Learning Center


FAMU/FSU College of Engineering











Project Title:

DOE Educational Technology Equipment Funding

Date Submitted:

2/14/01 4:50:22 PM












Alfred Lawson, Richard Mitchell














Statewide Interest:

Teach professional development to math & science teachers. Provide public programs & entertaiment`













Challenger Learning Center


Mr. Rick Fisher, Director


2525 Pottsdamer Street

Contact Phone:

(850) 410-6370



Tallahassee 32310-6046































Service Area:

Private Organization
















Project Description:








Scheduled to open in March 2002, the Challenger Learning Center of the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering is a jointly funded project of the State of Florida, Leon County, City of Tallahassee, FAMU and FSU.  Current facility funding is $8.6 million. The Center will be a  30,000 square foot facility located at Kleman Plaza in downtown Tallahassee. The mission of the center is to inspire middle school students to excel in math and science, as well as visitors, using simulation and imersive environments with an aerospace theme.  The Center will include a Space Mission Simulator with a mock up of Mission Control and the laboratory node of a Space Station, and a full-motion shuttle simulator. Additioinally, the Center is planning to feature an IMAX theater, domed planetarium/laser theater, observatory, distance learning classroom and an engineering and aerospace exhibit hall.  The Center also enjoys the active support of two former NASA astronauts, Dr. Norm Thagard and Captain Winston Scott.


Ten to fifteen thousand students will visit the Center each school year from 34 counties in North Florida with additional styadents coming from South Georgia and Southeast Alabama.  Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) of intent to participate have been secured with several area local education authorities (LEAs).  The planetarium/laser shows, observatory and IMAX shows will also be available to student tour groups from the entire state of Florida when visiting the capital. The distance learning classroom will allow for connectivity among schools all over the state allowing for interaction of student groups maximizing the center's outreach capabilities statewide.  The curriculum materials that support this technology have all been designed to support the goals and objectives of the national Science Education Standards and the Florida Sunshine State Standards.












Measurable Outcome Anticipated:






Math and science literacy is essential for our nation's workforce to be competitive in the global market.  Unfortunately, our nation faces a serious shortage of engineers.  Despite an expanding techology-based economy, enrollment in our nation's engineering colleges is decreasing, and more and more of the engineering positions in industry and academia are being filled from abroad.  If we want to enure our nation's workforce is prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century, then we must encourage young people to pursue careers in science, engineering, and technology.


As a nation, we must increase our efforts to encourage children to pursue these careers. We must show them that science and technology careere are exciting and valuable-and filled with possibilities.  Middle school is an ideal time to reach these students as they are naturally curious and the middle school years are often the "make it or break it" period for populations to pursue industry and academia careers in science, engineering, and technology.  The contribution that women and minorities make can help this nation maintain its competitive edge throught a highly educated and diverse workforce.

In additon, the general public would benefit appreciation and undersatnding of science and technology.  A scientifically literate population is essential for our continued success as a nation. Therefore, we need to provide the public with educational progrtam and entertainment based in science.

The Challenger Learning Center facility has been designed to meet the needs of two distinct groups of visitors: school children who visit the Center to participate in its award-wining, nationally renowned educational programs and the general public who vists the center for entertainment that educates. We envision the Challenger Learning Center as premier aerospace-themed student and visitor destination in the capital of the space state of Florda, furnished with the highest quality equipment and exhibits.

Students and teachers will come from communities across the southeastern United States and return to their communities to share their experiences.

In addition to serving a large student population, the Challenger Learning Center will be open to the public and offer many educational and entertainment opportunities, creating a regional draw to the Center. The breadth of programmatic offerings will serve families, community members, college students, the young and the old.












Amount requested from the State for this project this year:






















Total cost of the project:
















Request has been made to fund:















Type of funding match:








Total Cash Amount:


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Was this project previously funded by the State?





Fiscal Year:















Is future-year funding likely to be requested?














Was this project included in an Agency's Budget Request?






Education, Department Of, And Commissioner Of Education

Was this project included in the Governor's Recommended Budget?













Is there a documented need for this project?






Declining enrollment in science and engineering majors in higher education institutions.











Was this project request heard before a publicly noticed meeting of a body of elected officials (municipal, county, or state)?




Hearing Body:

Leon County, City of Tallahassee


Meeting Date: