CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Aquarium is looking to expand its footprint with additional learning space in downtown Charleston.
The aquarium is working with the city to add additional capacity to teach kids at the Charleston Maritime Center – they plan to teach about 20,000 students a year in the revitalized space.
“Council agreed to a Memorandum of Agreement with the South Carolina Aquarium. They will invest up to $5 million on this city facility with a long-term lease to create educational space for our kids,” explained Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg.
While the SC Aquarium will focus on local title one schools, schools across South Carolina will be able to take advantage of the program set around STEM education.
“Here at the Maritime Museum, you’ll have direct access to take a real field trip out on the water and go have environmental science as well,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.
The Charleston Maritime Center has never been fully used for its original purpose – it was built to be a marketplace for fisheries. “Never really happened as envisioned,” said Mayor Tecklenburg. “It’s really important to create a multi-use facility for our citizens.”
Plans show 5,000 square feet on the lower level will be transformed into ‘The Learning Lab.’
“The Learning Lab will contain five classrooms (four indoor, one outdoor), and serve as home for Dominion Energy School Programs… The Aquarium will effectively double the number of students it serves each year with this critical program,” the SC Aquarium said in a statement.
“But the broadening of knowledge about the environment, science, about climate change, all of these are positive for our young students today,” said Mayor Tecklenburg.
Leaders with the SC Aquarium said they hope to have renovations completed by 2024.