Friends of Sci-Port Discovery Center
As we celebrate the coming of a new year, it is important for us to celebrate the successes of 2021 and reflect on lessons learned. We have been blessed by our members, our visitors, our donors, our staff, our Board leadership, and the community support we continue to receive.
The impact of the COVID pandemic has been significant. Through the trials of identifying and implementing the ever-changing safety measure requirements, one thing has become very clear. The loyalty and commitment of our employees and our Board is undeniable. Sci-Port is so much more than just a building. We thrive on providing an exceptional educational experience to those who visit Sci-Port; however, our commitment to providing high-quality, engaging outreach experiences is also part of our mission. Pairing STEM kits with live, virtual interactive programming and/or complementary YouTube videos was initially born out of the need for distance learning. Now, our STEM kits have become a creative way to reach families throughout the region.
In January of 2021, we welcomed more than 2000 guests who visited our second annual Sno-Port event. By February, we were all experiencing Snowmageddon and a total “freeze” in operations for a full week; however, we received some very positive news from the Board of Regents announcing Sci-Port Discovery Center as the Region 7 STEM Innovation Center! In March, we celebrated the Ides of March with the opening MoonPort, a science-based educational experience celebrating the moon and the planets of our solar system. The phrase “April showers bring May flowers” certainly rang true. By May, the grant dollars to support outreach activities throughout the community started coming in. By the end of 2021, grant funding exceeded $500,000. This grant funding allows Sci-Port to provide STEM-based, hands-on learning activities on and off-site while serving participants throughout north Louisiana and East Texas.
As the moon set on the MoonPort horizon, Sci-Port recognized the addition of gaming clubs throughout area schools by opening GamePort 2021 in July. This interactive, STEM-based exhibit provided on-site gaming experiences as well as off-site coding activities offered in conjunction with Shreve Memorial Library. As summer visitors flocked to Sci-Port, they were also provided with two unique NASA-based experiences. Through an exciting partnership with NASA, Sci-Port was able to offer two space-themed educational opportunities: CineSpace documentary viewings and the Chandra Observatory exhibit on loan from NASA and the Smithsonian museum. By September, it was time to dine and design. Sci-Port hosted the first of its kind, Dining by Design exhibit featuring tablescapes presented by several local artists. And speaking of design, Sci-Port was selected as the event space for the September Fashion Prize event.
Let’s talk about “bridging the STEM gap”! The Bakowski Bridge of Lights will soon light up Shreveport and Bossier downtown districts. Who will be responsible for the lighting designs??? In September, more than 170 5th grade, high school and postsecondary students began meeting at Sci-Port to participate in “Light It Up” certification training. A visit to Sci-Port provides guests with a view of the bridge model being used for training purposes. Mark your calendars for February 22, 2022, for the initial lighting of the bridge!
And…we have saved the best for last! In December, the City Council committed 1.1 million dollars to fund the upgrade of the IMAX Theatre! The Caddo Commission will provide an additional $400,000 in 2022 to complete the project. Visitors will soon be able to experience the immersive surround-sound movie experience while viewing the latest documentaries and block-buster films. Stay tuned…completion is expected by October of 2022.
Thank you for the support and commitment to education which allows Sci-Port Discovery Center to provide engaging and relevant STEM-based learning opportunities for learners of all ages.
With my sincere gratitude,
Dianne Clark, Executive Director