New High Tech Center Coming To Hancock County

A proposed National Science, Technology, and Education Center in Hancock County is a step closer to becoming reality.

The new center will be located on I-10 on 200 acres near the state line in Hancock County. NASA's Community Relations Officer Myron Webb told WLOX News drivers in the East bound lane crossing the Pearl River Bridge will get a birds eye view of a world class facility.

"This center will allow us to expose millions of area students and teachers and the public to the high technology activities that go on here at Stennis Space Center that are carried out by NASA the Navy and the other resident agencies located here."

The first phase of the project will cost between $25 million and $30 million. Stennis' Visitors Center and Museum, StenniSphere will be moved off site into the new facility as well as its Educators Resource Center.

"This project is totally in line with NASA's new emphasis on inspiring the next generation of explorers inspiring more students to take an interest in science technology , engineering and mathematics," Webb said.

"We will accomplish that mission through education work shops through summer camp programs through taking the centers mission on the road," NASA Education Services Manager John Wilson said.

More than 500,000 people are expected to visit the new center annually.

Phase two calls for a large theater similar to an I-max, and a lot more technology based amenities.

"I think this project is a win win for the State of Mississippi and the nation because we will be exposing millions of interstate travelers and regional students to this exciting technology. We do believe this will put NASA, Hancock County, and Stennis on the map," Webb said.

Construction is expected to begin in two years. The multi million dollar project will be funded through the state and federal government, as well as fund raisers and private donations.

by Al Showers