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Michigan Science Center, Formerly Detroit Science Center, Receives Donation From ITC Holdings

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The Detroit Science Center closed its doors last fall, but recent positive developments are increasing the odds of the institution reopening (Wikimedia).
The Detroit Science Center closed its doors last fall, but recent positive developments are increasing the odds of the institution reopening (Wikimedia).

Those hoping to reopen the Detroit Science Center under a new name just got a major boost from a local company that invests in the electrical transmission grid.

On Tuesday ITC Holdings Corp. of Novi announced it was making a $500,000 donation to the institution, which is now called the Michigan Science Center (MSC).

“We greatly appreciate the support and commitment of ITC,” said Tom Stephens, chairman of the MSC board. “This donation is integral to our efforts to open the Michigan Science Center and accomplish our vital mission of inspiring children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.”

The museum closed its doors last fall after racking up a $5.8 million debt. The museum went into the red for several reasons, like investing in a Ferndale shop called Design & Exhibits and recouping lower than expected box office returns from a Mexican mummy exhibit.

Facing closure, the institution was saved from financial oblivion this summer by Ron Weiser, an Ann Arbor businessman and former Republican National Committee Finance Chairman. Weiser bought the Detroit Science Center’s land, building and contents from its mortgage holder Citizen's Bank and is currently working out an arrangement to sell these holdings back to center's new board at a price significantly lower than the amount the institution owed to the bank.

ITC's gift is the latest in a string of recent good news for the institution.

In the past few months The MSC has received approval to operate as a not-for-profit organization and has secured more than $2.5 million in donations and financial comittments from a variety of sources including The General Motors Foundation, The Ford Foundation, Penske Corporation and the Manoogian Fund.

MLive reports that the MSC board is now halfway to meeting its fundraising goal, but has not yet determined a projected opening day.

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