Arizona Challenger Space Center Finds New Home In Paradise Valley

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 3:19pm
Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 4:39pm
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Casey Kuhn/KJZZ
The former Space Challenger Center of Arizona building was designed by schoolchildren specifically for the program.

The Arizona Challenger Space Center left its specially-designed home in Peoria a year and a half ago.

Facing high costs at the former location, the center found a temporary place to put its education programs at Metrocenter Mall.

Now the plan is to move into a former elementary school in the Paradise Valley School District.

The space center will occupy 31,000 square feet and reinstall the space simulator for students to participate in a faux space mission.

Executive director Beverly Swayman plans to expand programs with NASA to keep the center even more relevant.

“We’re very excited about this," Swayman said. "We see it as a way to really help students capture real life experiences by having interviews with current NASA professionals.”

Swayman said the Robert McCall mural, which was the last one he did, that was applied to the former facility didn't make the move. Instead, a videographer was able to take footage of the art. That footage will be used in a virtual reality set where students can see a 360 degree digital version of the mural.

The center hopes to raise at least $200,000 to repurpose the property. Swayman said that money would go to making the simulator handicap-accessible, as well as other accessibility changes.

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