Union Village, museum officals discuss location in proposed development

When California developer David Baker announced the concept of Union Village in April, he mentioned the hope of partnering with the Henderson Space and Science Center.

The first steps of a partnership formed May 24 when Baker attended the space and science center’s board meeting to discuss Union Village and talk about a future relationship with the center. The Union Village proposal includes a health center and retail, residential and cultural space near U.S. Highway 95 and Galleria Drive.

Larry Carroll, a space and science center board member, said the project would be a good partnership.

“I think we can create a good synergy between the two projects,” Carroll said.

The board discussed potential locations for the space and science center within the Union Village proposal .

Carroll said that if Union Village decides to build an IMAX theater, which is one of the ideas for the development’s cultural center, that would be one amenity the space and science center doesn’t have to think about adding .

The board is obligated to raise about $40 million in addition to the funds the city of Henderson is allocating to construct the center.

Carroll said the relationship with Union Village might be a good opportunity to get more businesses interested in contributing to the board’s capital campaign .

Union Village officials still are negotiating to buy the land from the city. However, once the land is purchased and filled with dirt, the project can begin construction, which is slated for any time between January and April 2012 .

“The project would take about 41 months,” Baker said.

Baker added that about 18 to 20 months from Union Village’s completion, the space and science center could begin construction so that everything is completed around the same time.

At the same meeting, the board approved a $1.5 million operating budget to design the museum.

At today’s City Council meeting, which is set for 7 p.m. at City Hall, 240 S. Water St., the board is slated to ask for about $1.2 million so that the architect, Tate Snyder Kimsey RAFI, can begin designing the 87,000-square-foot science center.

The board also is slated to ask for $20 million that already was allocated to begin collecting artifacts for the center.

While the board figures out its future location, it continues to create a rapport with the community by offering traveling exhibits.

The center’s second exhibit, “It’s a Gas!,” closed May 31 after a four-month run inside the Galleria at Sunset mall, 1300 W. Sunset Road.

“I was very disappointed with the attendance,” said Ray Shubinski, project director for the space and science center.

Shubinski said about 6,000 guests attended .

According to the city ‘s cultural arts and tourism department, the exhibit received 1,871 students, teachers and chaperones . Of that, 1,474 were students from 35 schools.

The first exhibit, “Ends of the Earth: From Polar Bears to Penguins,” which ran from May to September 2010, exceeded the board’s expectations with 25,000 guests, about 25 percent more than estimated.

“Maybe it was the time of year,” Shubinski said. ” ‘It’s a Gas!’ was a good exhibit, smaller than the last one. We had a lot of good demonstrations that people really loved. I think if we could have promoted it more, we could have pulled more people in.”

Shubinski said the board is looking at possibilities for its third exhibit.

“We would love to continue working with the Galleria,” Shubinski added. “They have been great to work with.”

Shubinski also announced at the board meeting that he would not renew his contract as project director at the end of June, but he hopes to help with educational initiatives with the center.

Shubinski said the position turned into more of an administrative role and he wants to focus on exhibit design and education.

“If they asked me to come back in another capacity, I would consider it,” Shubinski said.

The board is not looking for a replacement for Shubinski.

For more information, visit hendersonspaceandscience.com.

Contact Henderson and Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 387-5201.

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