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S.C. State Museum Creating "Windows to New Worlds" with JEDA Bond Funding

COLUMBIA, SC – Bond financing facilitated by the South Carolina Jobs-Economic Development Authority (JEDA) will help the South Carolina State Museum build a state-of-the-art expansion that will reinvent the museum when the expansion opens in late 2012.

SC State Museum

“Windows to New Worlds” will include the state’s largest planetarium, a major observatory capable of sending live images of space to classrooms across the state, a multi-sensory 4-D theater and more.

An economic development bond issue of $5.5 million will be used to help build the digital planetarium dome and auditorium, multi-dimensional theater, and observatory, plus an outdoor telescope viewing platform, teacher resource center and distance learning studio. Plans also include acquiring a world-class vintage telescope and rare astronomy texts collection.

SC State Museum

The bond issuance will help maintain 30 existing jobs and create a total of seven new jobs within 24 months after the project is operational. Direct construction jobs from the expansion will be 170, with about 350 more spinoff jobs generated.

The project will expand the footprint of the existing museum, housed since 1988 in a historic former textile mill on Gervais Street in downtown Columbia.

“Building these new components onto the existing museum, and dramatically expanding access to the museum’s educational resources, has been a vital goal for the South Carolina State Museum for years,” said Adrienne Bellinger, Executive Director of the South Carolina State Museum Foundation. “We are absolutely thrilled that we are now on the verge of making this dream a reality.”

SC State Museum

“Facilitating this bond funding for the South Carolina State Museum’s exciting new project has been a privilege. ‘Windows to New Worlds’ will have an immediate and long-lasting impact,” said Kathy McKinney, Bond Counsel with Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A. in Columbia.

“This is a particularly exciting project, as ‘Windows to New Worlds’ is a public/private partnership that brings together state and local governments, the business community and individuals to make this one-of-a-kind project a reality,” said Harry Huntley, Executive Director of JEDA in Columbia. “This is a great example of how a cultural project can still happen in tough economic times,” he said.