Arizona Challenger Space Center plans to relocate
The Arizona Challenger Space Center, an organization created by the surviving families of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, today announced the Peoria Center’s relocation after its closure to the public on August 5th.
Opened in 2000, the Arizona Challenger Space Center is currently working with building owner Kevin Knight to find a new location and strives to still be in the West Valley area. “We are searching for a new location that allows program expansion and additional accessibility to the public,” said Beverly Swayman, Executive Director of the Arizona Challenger Space Center. “We will be thrilled to bring even more people to our new location to experience field trips, workshops, team building missions, and STEM education that provides important life skills in addition to a wealth of knowledge and opportunities for innovation and exploration,” added Swayman.
Relocation will provide the opportunity to add important new programs in robotics and coding as well as increase Smithsonian opportunities. “We are going to need the public’s help in raising enough money to make the move as well as add these exciting new features. We have set up a GoFundMe page for anyone who would like to be a part of this new era for the Center. Every dollar matters as we strive to create a Center that will showcase some of the latest technologies and will bring exciting, new exhibits to the community,” expressed Swayman.
One of the biggest challenges of moving is the handling of well-known NASA artist Robert McCall’s beloved 360-degree mural on the giant wall in the entrance of the Arizona Challenger Space Center. This one-of-a-kind mural was the last one completed before McCall’s death in 2010. Although the mural’s value is estimated up to $500,000, its true significance lies in the inspiration the mural provides to the people who visit every day. “We wish there was a way to bring the mural with us to our new location, but in consulting with preservationist experts, the risk of damage would be too great to try to remove it from the existing building. We are hopeful that the new owners will appreciate the importance of this work and continue to make it available to the public,” expressed Swayman.
Before the building’s vacancy on September 30th, the organization will work with schools that have already booked field trips for the fall. Schools will be provided the option to either reschedule at the new location later in the year, or have the choice of an Outreach Program while the transition takes place. The Center will still have summer camps available for all age groups during the weeks of July 10-14, July 17-21, July 24-28 and Cosmic Kids Camp July 31-August 4.
Anyone holding a membership to the Center will have their membership extended for the months that are needed to relocate. Ticket expiration dates on complimentary passes for either general admission or Family Stargazing nights will be extended the same length of time it takes for relocation. August and September Stargazing Night events will be canceled and will begin once relocated.
Through August 5th the Center will extend hours of operation so that fans of the Center will be able to visit and participate in public missions in this unique, one-of-a-kind, award-winning building before closure. Their website will have a list of current hours that will be updated weekly to accommodate as many people as possible in the limited time left.