Gadsden offering $250,000 to Challenger Center, still not enough to open STEM center for students

Gadsden working to get money for challenger learning center
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 9:11 PM CDT
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GADSDEN, Ala. (WBRC) - The city of Gadsden approved investing thousands of dollars in the Challenger Learning Center, which is geared toward providing STEM education designed by NASA.

This national program opens up centers where K-12 students can come and have learning experiences and activities geared toward science and math.

Gadsden is offering 50,000 to the program over the next five years, but the center still needs more.

They are working to secure over $2 million with help from Representative Robert Aderholt. The center is also in line to receive about $6 million from the state. To qualify, they need 10% from the city of Gadsden.

But Mayor Craig Ford says as they prepare for next year’s budget, $250,000 over the next five years is all they can afford right now.

“We must re-address the pay scale system for our first responders and city employees out the gate,” says Mayor Ford. “Then we have to take care of city services. We’ve got old buildings that we need to tear down. I just want to be your mayor and be fiscally to make sure that we are making the right decision. I hope it works out. We’re excited. We want it here.”

The center has created a task force with community stakeholders, and Mayor Ford says they have a couple of locations in Gadsden they’re willing to offer the center to use.

To learn more about the Challenger Center, click here.

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