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Union Station announces $1 million-plus grant to Science City

Gift from Burns & McDonnell Foundation will result in new exhibits and redesigned space

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 25, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Burns & McDonnell Foundation will invest more than $1 million in Science City at Union Station over the next year as part of a comprehensive campaign to reinvigorate learning and educational opportunities at one of Kansas City's most notable landmarks. The grant is the largest to date from the foundation.

The project is the latest step in an ongoing partnership between Science City and Burns & McDonnell focused on creating a strong local science center that is a resource and support for area schools and the Kansas City community overall. Burns & McDonnell's ongoing commitment to Science City is focused on providing more resources for instruction related to science, technology, engineering and math curricula in school districts throughout the metropolitan area.

"This latest gift and ongoing support from Burns & McDonnell has been instrumental in helping us take the next step in ensuring that Union Station and Science City are sustainable enterprises that are a source of pride for the entire region," said Michael Haverty, chairman of the Union Station Board of Directors. "This has always been a community initiative, and now with the combination of really great attractions and renewed focus on schools we are continuing to move forward in realizing the potential of this tremendous community asset."

Burns & McDonnell's support will be directed as follows:

  • $400,000 to fund new exhibits within Science City. The exhibits will have a science, technology, engineering or math focus. The number of new exhibits will be determined by Science City staff, who will be evaluating choices to be sure they are engaging and interactive.
  • $100,000 to redesign and expand interior space utilized by the Burns & McDonnell Engineerium. The expansion will accommodate new learning experiences in which students will design buildings that can withstand earthquakes and hurricanes and design and develop wind energy facilities.
  • $350,000 to purchase Science on a Sphere an interactive 3-D exhibit that creates a holographic, 6-foot image of Earth overlaid with projections of meteorological conditions, global energy use, continental drift, ocean currents and more. Designed and developed by scientists at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Science on a Sphere is a groundbreaking way to illustrate the various elements of Earth System Science.
  • $150,000 to fund a pool of prize money for schools whose entries are selected as part of a metro-wide contest next fall to design new exhibits for Science City. Dubbed Battle of the Brains, the contest will be segmented into two divisions - one for students in grades K-6 and one for students in grades 7-12. The winning school in each division will receive $50,000 and runner-up entries in each division will also receive prize awards. More details of this exciting competition will be announced later this spring. For more information, go to: www.battleofthebrainskc.com.

"There are a number of outstanding science centers and the most successful have become established as both a meaningful educational resource and an inviting tourist attraction," said George Guastello, president and CEO of Union Station. "This gift from Burns & McDonnell will help us move Science City at Union Station into that category. We believe it will be an outstanding attraction and a valuable resource for educators in our region."

"We believe it is important that Kansas Citians on both sides of the state line feel ownership and pride in making Science City and Union Station everything it can be," said Greg Graves, chairman, president and CEO of Burns & McDonnell. "Our partnership with Science City is built on a shared commitment to foster a love of learning among kids and adults. We want to engage and energize Kansas City and build excitement around Science City and this important regional treasure that we have in Union Station."

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