The head of Aberdeen Science Centre has revealed the building will reopen in June, following a huge revamp which will create “a massive wow factor”.
Chief executive, Bryan Snelling, is determined to ensure the venue becomes Aberdeen’s second five-star visitor facility when it opens again, after he helped gain that recognition for the Gordon Highlanders Museum.
Construction work on the project at the old granite tram sheds on Constitution Street, formerly known as Satrosphere, started last year.
Mr Snelling, who began his new role in November, yesterday described the scale of the renovation – which includes the creation of a new mezzanine, effectively transforming the building from one to two floors and doubling the amount of exhibition space.
Mr Snelling said: “This is an exciting time for Aberdeen with the opening of the new P&J Live and the Art Gallery and the renovation of the Music Hall.
“We’re determined to do for science what these ventures have done for arts, culture and entertainment, and I’m confident the new centre will have a massive wow factor.
“The north-east has a rich heritage in science and technology, whether it’s physicist James Clerk Maxwell, or Aberdeen University being at the heart of the world’s first MRI machine, or in the expertise of such figures as bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington. And we were the first city in Scotland to have a science centre.
“Now, there are three others – in Dundee, Glasgow and Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh – but I’m thrilled about what is happening during this redevelopment.
“There will be many new exhibits, a space area, the country’s first theatre of energy, a special part of the building for children under six, and range of new workshops.
“Everything else is being updated to make it as visitor-friendly as possible, and there will also be a new cafe, new interactive features and the overall ambition of inspiring young people.“
The £6 million redevelopment is being made possible by support and funding from the Inspiring Science Fund – a partnership between the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, UK Research and Innovation, Wellcome, Opportunity North East and Aberdeen City Council.
The initiative has also secured more than £600,000 from OPITO to create a unique immersive energy theatre on the premises.
Mr Snelling said one of biggest priorities was to spread the word to girls and young women that science should be accessible to everybody.
He said: “We want to give youngsters, whether boys or girls, things they can feel excited about and it’s vitally important this place is both fun and an education to those who come through the doors.”
The centre will open its doors to the public in the summer, with a more formal ceremony being arranged later in the year.