TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa officials cut the ribbon Wednesday at 10 a.m. on The Gateway: Alberta's Innovation and Discovery Center.
Located at 2614 University Blvd. East, in front The Alberta School of Performing Arts, the facility is open to the public, offering many different forms of interactive technology. The center has a children's area, 3-D printer, high-tech meeting room, tablets and laptops for check-out, coffee shop, work lounges,
The idea for The Gateway came out of discussions about how to rebuild Alberta in a way that would be best for the future, according to City of Tuscaloosa Chief Resilience Officer Robin Edgeworth.
She said over and over again, the concept of technology was a big part of the conversation.
Edgeworth said providing access to technology, especially for students who may not otherwise have that access, was also a recurring topic.
"Out of that, we began to explore how the city could partner with the schools or with the public library or with other community partners on developing something that could begin to bridge that gap, and out of that came The Gateway," she said.
The Gateway is ideal for the most advanced technology user or for a beginner, according to her.
After Wednesday's opening of The Gateway, several events are planned for the rest of the week:
- Guided tours Thursday, 10 a.m., Noon and 2 p.m.
- "Faces of Tuscaloosa,” Record your personal story at The Gateway Friday, 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.
- Meet & Greet and live music Friday, 5 - 7:30 p.m.
- Children’s Fun Day Saturday, 11 a.m. -2 p.m.
The coffee shop inside The Gateway is operated by Heritage House Coffee & Teas, which has been operating in the Tuscaloosa area for more than 20 years.
Owner Rebekah Wanstall said she is glad to be part of a new concept, as well as the rebuilding of Alberta.
"I feel like with us coming here, it's going to tell the community that we believe in Alberta, that we want to see Alberta revitalized, and us being one of the first businesses here, we hope others will follow," she said.