National Science Center will leave Augusta

File
Students prepare to visit Fort Discovery last year.
  • Follow Metro

The National Science Center announced a restructuring plan Tuesday that includes moving the organization to new headquarters in Washington, D.C., and closing Fort Discovery.

Back | Next
The National Science Center's Fort Discovery in Augusta is open Thursdays through Saturdays. It will close by year's end.   Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
The National Science Center's Fort Discovery in Augusta is open Thursdays through Saturdays. It will close by year's end.

"We think this makes a lot of sense, and we believe basing the organization out of D.C. gives us a much better opportunity to pursue our mission," said Monty Osteen, the group's chairman.

The center, established by federal legislation in 1985, is a unique partnership between National Science Center Inc., a nonprofit organization, and the Army. Its broad mission is to increase the math and science proficiency of U.S. students.

"It's a national mission and it's always been a national mission," Osteen said.

As part of that mission, the partnership operates Fort Discovery, along Riverwalk Augusta. That site, with 125,000 square feet of exhibits and other space, has been for sale for more than a year and remains open Thursdays through Saturdays.

Although earlier discussions included moving the center to Fort Gordon after the downtown property sold, officials now plan to close Fort Discovery by year's end and complete the relocation to Washington by Sept. 30.

"The best way to achieve our mission is to devote our resources to the development of educational programming, act as the national clearinghouse for educational programming and best practices, and deliver educational products and services nationally using technology and other delivery channels provided through our partnerships," said Rob Dennis, the center's president and CEO.

Washington offers better access to the Pentagon and the military and also to many of the center's major sponsors, he said, adding that lack of funding from the state of Georgia has played a role in the decision to move.

"More viable partnerships in the national capital region along with diminishing Georgia state funding are the primary catalysts for the relocation," Dennis said.

Osteen, who has been the chairman of the center for more than a decade, said plans include finding a new chairman within six months, along with a new board.

"The new chairman we will recruit or elect shortly will be somebody who, hopefully, has a high national profile in a leadership position, perhaps even a CEO of a major technology firm," Osteen said. "That person would then begin the recruitment of nationally situated board members. The idea is to turn the board into very much of a national enterprise."

After the move to Washington is complete, the center will not establish a new museum facility such as Fort Discovery.

"Operating a large museum takes away a lot of resources that could be devoted to achieving the mission through delivery of educational programming," Osteen said. "Technology has gotten us to the point where we can deliver programming in a virtual way over the Internet, and be much more effective. Instead of reaching hundreds of thousands, we can reach millions."

Leaving Augusta after so many years will be difficult, Dennis said, adding that employees have been notified of the developments.

"Part of this is bittersweet," he said. "Even though we lose Fort Discovery, we need to do the right thing. What we have is a national organization with a national mission. This move will provide us with the level of national visibility that we need."

The mission

The National Science Center's mission is to be a catalyst to excite America's youths about math, science and technology. The partnership will:

- Promote science and mathematics education for all ages nationwide.

- Motivate young Americans to seek careers in technology and engineering.

- Produce products and services providing hands-on training in the sciences.

- Operate and maintain a headquarters that functions as a hub for national education programs.

Comments (47) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 02:23 pm
0
0
Well this was a bit

Well this was a bit unexpected. I knew Fort Discovery was closing, but figured the NSC would remain at Fort Gordon. Looks like another one got away. So did Mayor Copenhaver try to intervene to get them to stay in Augusta? I guess he was too busy with his ballpark.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0
So lets go over the record

So lets go over the record folks over the last few years: Golf and Gardens (closed), Electrolux HQ (moved to Charlotte), Fort Discovery (closing at end of this year), Whites Building Condos (financial limbo), Watermark Condos (Cancelled), Villages at Riverwatch/Costco/Bass Pro (pretty much cancelled), A new medical school opens in Athens draining students and resources from Augusta..Now National Science Center moving from Augusta to Washington, DC. what's next? And where has our mayor been on all of these things?

story1
802
Points
story1 10/19/10 - 02:36 pm
0
0
Sad day in Augusta to lose

Sad day in Augusta to lose Fort Discovery. The staff there are simply incredible.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 10/19/10 - 02:38 pm
0
0
This is too bad. The

This is too bad. The recession is certainly catching up with us that's for sure. Electrolux leaving absolutely killed the $350+ housing market in Columbia County. Ouch.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 10/19/10 - 02:40 pm
0
0
EmeryDan is the

EmeryDan is the anti-Countyman.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 02:42 pm
0
0
Yeah, losing Electrolux was a

Yeah, losing Electrolux was a major bummer.. it really was a sense of Pride for The Augusta area to have the North American HQ for a major company like that. I think this is the National Science Center that is moving from Fort Gordon. I knew some folks that worked for the NSC.. hate to see us lose this.

crackerjack
150
Points
crackerjack 10/19/10 - 02:42 pm
0
0
Emerydan.....what's next?

Emerydan.....what's next? The Deke stadium debacle! Why not? He's done so well with the other wonderful visitor magnets of the Garden City.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 10/19/10 - 02:43 pm
0
0
Well, all the hoopla when it

Well, all the hoopla when it opened went for naught. When it opened, the Chronicle included a special insert in the paper saying this was like MIT, Stanford and Clemson (threw that in for you Tiger fans) all combining and moving here.

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 10/19/10 - 02:45 pm
0
0
By the way, I thought Ft.

By the way, I thought Ft. Discovery would be sold by last Janurary? Guess that was a little optimistic, huh?

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 02:51 pm
0
0
The National Science Center

The National Science Center is totally different from Fort Discovery n(though the NSC managed Fort Discovery). We were not supposed to be losing the NSC.. how was this not on anyone's radar?

Riverman1
86668
Points
Riverman1 10/19/10 - 03:07 pm
0
0
Emery, I'm referring to the

Emery, I'm referring to the assertion that Ft. Discovery would be sold to a private concern and that's why it couldn't be remodeled and used for the TEE.

Yeah, I realize the NSC runs the exhibits. They originally had land just past Gate 1 on Gordon Hwy for the NSC, but apparently that won't happen now.

Nostrebor
0
Points
Nostrebor 10/19/10 - 03:10 pm
0
0
You can also add the fact

You can also add the fact that both downtown TV stations are heading out of Augusta very soon to your list of things that have died. Downtown has failed over the past 4 years. Sad. Come to think of it, even the Riverwalk was cleaner 4 years ago than it is now...

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 03:20 pm
0
0
nostre... you are correct. It

nostre... you are correct. It is a real shame how Riverwalk, which used to be Augusta's crown jewel, has been allowed to tarnish.
We were told though a year ago at this time that WJBF and WAGT news would take over the fort Discovery space; it appears that was misinformation.

augusta citizen
9682
Points
augusta citizen 10/19/10 - 03:31 pm
0
0
I didn't realize the two TV

I didn't realize the two TV stations were leaving downtown. I guess those along with Ft. Discovery will aid with the non existent parking problem.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 03:33 pm
0
0
They are probably moving to

They are probably moving to North Augusta.. can you blame them?

Nostrebor
0
Points
Nostrebor 10/19/10 - 03:35 pm
0
0
I guess the news stations

I guess the news stations thought there was more happening on the outskirts of Augusta in some random abandoned box store. Or maybe they wanted a better view as the city self-destructs...

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/19/10 - 03:39 pm
0
0
But as Riverman pointed out..

But as Riverman pointed out.. we were told by a local politician around this time a year ago that a deal was imminent for WJBF to purchase the Fort Discovery space and they would move there along with WAGT. That was a reason we were given why the Fort Discovery space could not be used as a much cheaper alternative for a TEE Center.

flipa
35
Points
flipa 10/19/10 - 03:55 pm
0
0
Guess they will join the

Guess they will join the other station over there in covering up Aiken co's crime. Crime Reports and Rewards found a massive multi year coverup that's getting so big they can't hide it anymore. No i won't tell you here, you'll have to watch the show.

The National Science Center moving to the beltway is no surprise to those of us who have worked in and around DC. What goes on in DC HAS to stay in DC, now that incudes the money. With "CHANGE" like this......

Little Lamb
46801
Points
Little Lamb 10/19/10 - 03:46 pm
0
0
Don't worry. The city

Don't worry. The city government will buy the TV stations' studios downtown, let the buildings sit empty until the roof starts leaking then caves in. They learn from the Board of Education.

How will they buy the buildings? The same way they bought Gilbert Manor. First they pay the owners with surplus cash sitting in the banks, then then replace the cash with new SPLOST money. We taxpayers are already accustomed to it, so we are never outraged.

Nostrebor
0
Points
Nostrebor 10/19/10 - 03:46 pm
0
0
They are not moving to North

They are not moving to North Augusta. Old Barnes and Noble. There's not been much reported on it, but you can read about it here: www.buzzon.biz/august-9th-radio-show/ Hey, Augusta Chronicle, awesome opportunity for a story on this exodus of two major downtown businesses. Unless, of course, you don't think it's newsworthy...or haven't heard it yet yourself...

flipa
35
Points
flipa 10/19/10 - 03:59 pm
0
0
Darn; I was looking forward

Darn; I was looking forward to being the only GA TV news guy left in Augusta...I follow crime, not biz. Buzz on Biz is doing an excellent job on biz.

Indigo
4
Points
Indigo 10/19/10 - 05:03 pm
0
0
Way to go Augusta! Cant

Way to go Augusta! Cant sustain anything except gunfights.

mary dits
2
Points
mary dits 10/19/10 - 05:04 pm
0
0
i heart my citizen reporters!

i heart my citizen reporters! the check's in the mail, y'all.

TeamLoser
1
Points
TeamLoser 10/19/10 - 06:13 pm
0
0
Moving sale? Maybe I can

Moving sale? Maybe I can pick up a Tesla coil cheap.

dwb619
96622
Points
dwb619 10/19/10 - 07:15 pm
0
0
Flipa, You keep teasing about

Flipa,
You keep teasing about your big secret you're gonna break. So tell which station to watch.

jg41160
6
Points
jg41160 10/19/10 - 11:16 pm
0
0
h.mmm, crime downtown, no

h.mmm, crime downtown, no reassuring security presence, RCSO needs new digs. Just saying.

Emerydan
10
Points
Emerydan 10/20/10 - 02:51 am
0
0
hmmm .. another one bites the

hmmm .. another one bites the dust... oh yeah... another one bites the dust

Batman
18
Points
Batman 10/20/10 - 03:12 am
0
0
A customer of mine in San

A customer of mine in San Diego told me last week that I should relocate there. He's originally from Ohio and he had purchased property on Hilton Head Island to build his retirement home. Later he and his wife visited some friends in San Diego. Long story short, he sold his property on HHI and built in San Diego. The reason for his move is he wanted to leave Ohio because of the poor attitudes of its people. Sadly, he said he found the same depressing spirit in the low country. He went on to say that I wouldn't believe the positive attitudes and the 'can do' spirit of the people in the San Diego area. Not to mention the awesome weather. He talked about the big smiles and cheerful people he regularly meets in the grocery stores. So, after reading the post here, I feel a bit envious of him. Our area has too many naysayers with self-fulfilling prophecies. Cheer up people... life is usually what you make of it. Signed, a lifelong Augustan!

catfish20
272
Points
catfish20 10/20/10 - 06:38 am
0
0
Channel 6 is temporaily

Channel 6 is temporaily moving into the Old Barnes and Noble Bookstore while the existing station is demolished and a new station built at the same site.

dashiel
176
Points
dashiel 10/20/10 - 08:10 am
0
0
Batman I'm with you. The

Batman I'm with you. The Chronicle draws mean-spirited comments like a magnet. Any decent visitor to our town might reasonably assume that Augusta is more 19th than 21st century; that our glass is half-empty and we're not happy unless we're miserable.

Augustans I know and love are no such losers. It's high time the Chronicle accepted some civic responsibility unless its captain has some perverted death wish that compels him to go down with his white rats.

Back to Top

Top headlines

ARC to honor 1956 championship team

Because the championship year of 1956 has never lost its glory in Richmond Academy football lore, the team will be honored Thursday at the third annual ARC Hall of Fame banquet, where 10 alumni ...
Search Augusta jobs