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Science and technology center planned for Thanksgiving Point … – Daily Herald

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The newest addition to Thanksgiving Point in Lehi will be a science and technology center, envisioned to be “a place where children will be inspired to explore science and technology in new ways,” said Brandon Fugal, co-chair of the budding initiative at Thanksgiving Point.
Set to begin construction by the end of 2024, the center is expected to open in 2026 and will likely be placed adjacent to the Show Barn at Thanksgiving Point. “This new center is really going to help the next generation to be able to see the world in a new way and to be inspired by technology and science,” Fugal said.
Thanksgiving Point currently is home to venues like the Mountain America Museum of Ancient Life, Butterfly Biosphere, Museum of Natural Curiosity, Ashton Gardens and Farm Country, which is a working farm. Fugal said this new center will elevate Thanksgiving Point by adding a focus solely on science and technology, which he added, “will be a perfect complement and an evolutionary leap forward.”
Fugal is co-chair with Jeanette Bennett, who is also the chief visionary officer of Thanksgiving Point. Fugal said the reason Thanksgiving Point, the board of trustees and others in leadership chose to build a science and technology center over something else is “because science and technology will drive much of the growth and future employment in this community, and providing a resource to inspire and help children discover science in new and innovative ways will ultimately lead to career opportunities.”
The new facility is in the early planning stages to decide which “inspiring exhibits and interactive opportunities” will be featured at the center, Fugal said.
A meeting was held Sept. 27 with the Thanksgiving Point board of trustees and a group of Utah science and technology leaders. According to Fugal, the collaboration at the planning session brought discussions of “innovative new approaches to inspiring children with science and technology, and the most dynamic ways to implement those approaches.”
Fugal said they will continue to expand and diversify the people they collaborate with to create the new center. Key elements of the facility will be unveiled in the coming months, he added.
Thanksgiving Point is a nonprofit and provides free access to all venues for low-income families on SNAP or WIC benefits, with a mission “to inspire children and help them gain confidence.”
“STEM education is truly at the heart of really what we are doing,” Fugal said, referring to an acronym for science, technology, engineering and math concepts. “We want science learning to be accessible and available to every child in Utah no matter their economic situation.”
Located in the center of the Wasatch Front and in the heart of Silicon Slopes, “which has become a driving force for technology companies and others to expand,” Fugal said, “Thanksgiving Point is ideally positioned to create this opportunity for the (entire) community.”
According to Fugal, the science and technology center will be a place to nurture a love for science and technology within children to provide opportunities to pursue these types of careers, which are becoming more prevalent in Utah Valley. “It really will be an engaged learning experience,” he said.
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