Make us your home page
Instagram

Science Center in St. Petersburg seeks funding to stay open and innovative

ST. PETERSBURG — After initially planning to shut down in September for six months due to harsh economic conditions, the Science Center is planning on staying open.

The new executive director on board, Joe Cuenco, a former technology and marketing executive, is determined to find a way to keep the long-standing center viable.

"We'd like to raise a million dollars next year," Cuenco said, while admitting that the figure is ambitious.

As the economy plummeted over the past year, charitable donations to the center also fell. Several big fundraising dinners and events brought in less than half of what was expected this year. So with depleting resources, the center was forced to dip into its endowment.

The board asked Cuenco to become the new executive director last month, and he has since promised to ratchet up sponsorships with local corporations. Cuenco said he also wants to launch a new name for the facility, the Center for Youth Innovation, and is working on getting a corporate title for that name.

"There's a big impression that we get funding from the county, and that's simply not the case," he said.

Cuenco is also looking for ways that the center can be eligible for grant programs through the $787 billion stimulus bill President Barack Obama signed into law in February.

The curriculum will also change to one that's more focused on technology and engineering and geared more toward middle and high school students. For now, the rates for summer camps and other programs will not increase.

Helen Davis, a Science Center board member, said the group soon will open several new exciting programs to draw in kids who watch shows like CSI or Star Trek.

What's planned for the center includes a new robotics center, forensics center and a multimedia training program where students can produce video. More than 100 high school students have volunteered throughout the past week, helping to remodel the center and set up equipment.

"Our whole focus of the board is to make sure this center is open another 50 years," Davis said.

Right now, the center, which opened in 1959, has a Progress Energy room and is looking for other companies to take on similar sponsorships.

"The center fulfilled its mission for the appropriate times," Cuenco said. "Now we need to look forward to the 22nd century."

Science Center in St. Petersburg seeks funding to stay open and innovative 05/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, May 16, 2009 4:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and violated its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. A meatless burger that tastes like meat? Ciccio Restaurants will serve the Impossible Burger.

    Food & Dining

    TAMPA — The most red-hot hamburger in the nation right now contains no meat.

    Luis Flores, executive chef at Ciccio Restaurant Group, prepares an Impossible Burger at Epicurean Hotel's Food Theatre. Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that will launch on Sept. 27, 2017 in all the Ciccio Restaurant Group locations, except for Fresh Kitchen. "This burger caters to the carnivorous, not just the vegetarians" said Jeff Gigante, co-founder at Ciccio Restaurant Group. ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times
  3. Construction starts on USF medical school, the first piece of Tampa's Water Street project

    Health

    TAMPA — Dozens of workers in hard hats and boots were busy at work at the corner of South Meridian Avenue and Channelside Drive Wednesday morning, signaling the start of construction on the University of South Florida's new Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute.

    Construction is underway for the new Morsani College of Medicine and USF Health Heart Institute in downtown Tampa. This view is from atop Amalie Arena, where local officials gathered Wednesday to celebrate the first piece of what will be the new Water Street District. The USF building is expected to open in late 2019. [ALESSANDRA DA PRA  |   Times]
  4. Tampa Bay among top 25 metro areas with fastest growing economies

    Economic Development

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy among 382 metro areas in the country for 2016. According to an analysis by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Tampa Bay's gross domestic product, or GDP, increased 4.2 percent from 2015 to 2016 to hit $126.2 billion.

    Tampa Bay had the 24th fastest growing economy in the country for 2016. Rentals were one of the areas that contributed to Tampa Bay's GDP growth. Pictured is attorney David Eaton in front of his rental home. 
[SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  5. Tampa Bay cools down to more moderate home price increases

    Real Estate

    The increase in home prices throughout much of the Tampa Bay area is definitely slowing from the torrid rate a year ago.

    This home close to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa sold for $3.055 million in August, making it Hillsborough County's top sale of the month. [Courtesy of Bredt Cobitz]