Big Little Science Centre will move into former Value Village site in downtown Kamloops

The science centre is working on a three-year lease with landlord Total Concepts Developments and expects to be open in early November

The Big Little Science Centre is moving downtown, to the building at Seymour Street and Fifth Avenue formerly occupied by Value Village.

BLSC executive director Gordon Stewart said the science centre will be leasing a portion of the 24,000-square-foot building and will need to make renovations to the area it will be using.

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The science centre will take up less than half that space.

Stewart said the washrooms will need to be enlarged and some walls built to create a few classrooms in the space.

The building’s landlord, Total Concepts Developments, will be helping science centre staff with the renovations, Stewart said, noting a layout plan is being drawn up, which will help identify renovation costs.

This week, the charitable organization is moving from its current location in the former Happyvale elementary on Holt Street in Brocklehurst and equipment is being placed in storage until the centre can reopen in the downtown location, planned for early November.

However, Stewart said, offsite events at schools will continue.

While the move has been going smoothly, the science centre may need donations of cash and/or materials once renovations begin.

Stewart said the science centre is working on a three-year lease at the Seymour Street location.

He said moving downtown will help the science centre interact more with tourists than at its Brocklehurst site and enable opportunities to partner with other nearby organizations, such as the Kamloops Library, the Kamloops Art Gallery and the Kamloops Film Society, to make the area more of a destination.

The Sept. 5 fire that destroyed Parkcrest elementary in Brocklehurst has led to a domino effect of student movement to and from various facilities. As a result, the science centre was asked by School District 73 to move out of the Holt Street location it leases so the building can be used to house students from Four Directions alternative school.

Four Directions was moved from George Hilliard elementary to accommodate Parkcrest elementary students displaced by the fire. Nobody was hurt in the blaze, the cause of which remains under investigation, though police have ruled out arson. Parkcrest students began classes in Hilliard on Sept. 16.

The science centre offers visitors a variety of shows, demonstrations, teaching laboratories and more than 140 hands-on stations to experiment with science.

The centre was founded in 2001 by science teacher Gordon Gore. It has had homes in David Thompson elementary, Bert Edwards Science and Technology School, George Hilliard elementary and Happyvale elementary. In its latest newsletter, released this week, science centre staff said it will no longer be housed in schools, due to the uncertainty of space availability.

In the summer of 2017, Value Village relocated to Sahali Mall from its location at Seymour and Fifth. That summer, Total Concepts Developments purchased the property for $2.7 million and, aside from seasonal leases, the building has remained vacant.

© Kamloops This Week


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