In it’s biggest announcement since getting penguins years ago, on Tuesday, June 18, the Greensboro Science Center presented a wealth of information to the public: The center released the results of a study of the economic impact the center has had on the local economy and also revealed detailed plans on many future projects meant to dramatically improve the center.

At the Tuesday morning event held for media, center advocates and the general public, Greensboro Science Center CEO Glenn Dobrogosz offered highlights from a new study that wrapped up last month – The Economic Study of the Greensboro Science Center.  That study, conducted by Sage Policy Group, Inc., used an “industry standard economic impact analysis program” to arrive at its findings.

According to the 22-pages of results, Science Center operations, and the visitor spending associated with those operations, supported approximately 970 jobs statewide in fiscal year 2017-2018 – with a large majority of those jobs in Greensboro and Guilford County.

The study states: “These jobs were associated with more than $26 million in annual employee compensation and greater than $70 million in augmented economic activity. These impacts support in excess of $468,000 in annual tax revenues for the City of Greensboro, an additional $1.2 million in annual tax revenues for Guilford County and $2.1 million for the State of North Carolina.”

The study also revealed that, between 2018 and 2020, the Science Center will invest another $22 million into its facilities, with most of that money coming from private funding.  This investment, it stated, will also support a number of one-time economic impacts, including an additional 259 jobs statewide.

“Those jobs will be associated with $13.7 million in employee compensation and more than $40 million in additional economic activity once multiplier effects are considered,” the study found.

The study placed the center’s total economic impact in that fiscal year at just under $77 million.

At the June 18 event, Dobrogosz also unveiled the Science Center’s strategic plan for 2020-2030.  That plan, titled “The Gateway Project: Opening Minds and Building Futures through Science and the Arts,” calls for major renovations and additions at the center over the coming decade.  Those include science-inspired sculptures at the entrance, major upgrades to the aquarium, a new shark reef habitat with underwater cameras, new animals and insects, and  “Domes of Discovery” that will provide visitors with information on the sights around them.

The Science Center is also adding night time hours and making other changes meant to shatter the image that it’s just a place for school kids to go during the day.  Instead, Dobrogosz and others at the center want it to become “the central park” for Greensboro.