Detroit Science Center

Courtesy of Jeanane Charara / Michigan Science Center

The Next Idea

If you're a certain age, you probably remember watching educational films in science class on a noisy projector.

user: Liza Lagman Sperl

The DTE Energy Foundation plans to donate $1 million to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.

According to their press release, the donation will span a period of five years, specifically funding the science center's STEM educational program (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Detroit Science Center

The former Detroit Science Center closed its doors in September of 2011. Earlier this year, there were reports that the Center could be liquidated so that creditors could recoup some of their losses.

$10 million was sought at the time to cover debts and operating expenses.

Today, the Center has a new name "The Michigan Science Center," and the new owners are expected to announce plans for reopening today.

The Detroit News reports the Center was rescued in July:

At a public auction in July, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, Ron Weiser, agreed to buy the land, building and its contents from Citizens Bank.

In the deal, Weiser would sell the land, building and contents to the newly constituted science center for what he paid Citizens — substantially less than the total debt owed the bank — and absorb associated legal costs.

His conditions required that the science center be debt-free, that it raise money to reopen and operate and expand its educational mission.

The center's fundraisers have a $5 million goal.

The News reports the Center has received contributions from from the GM Foundation, Lear Corp., ITC Holdings, the Manoogian Fund, the DTE Energy Foundation and the Penske Corp., and the Toyota Technical Center.

The Michigan Science Center is hiring. Those interested in applying for positions can go to the Science Center's website.

The Detroit Science Center, which closed its doors last September, could be given a new life. The Detroit News reports Ann Arbor businessman, Ron Weiser, has agreed to buy the land, the building and its contents from Citizens Bank.

Detroit Science Center

When the Detroit Science Center closed its doors last September because of cash shortfalls, officials there said they would reopen in early October.

It proved to be wishful thinking.

The Center continues to look for ways to drum up enough money to reopen.

Crain's Detroit Business' Sherri Welch reports that one bank is calling for liquidation:

Sources tell Crain's that Citizens Bank of Flint is demanding the Detroit Science Center board bring in liquidators so that the bank can recoup some portion of the money owed to it by the science center through the sale of its contents.

Citizens holds the debt on a $1 million credit line which is bundled with a $4.8 million mortgage tied to the science center's 2001 expansion.

The bank did not return messages left Thursday afternoon.

Welch says sources tell her that GM and Ford have "promised money to help bail the science center out." $10 million is being sought to cover debt and operating expenses for both the Detroit Science Center and the Detroit Children's Museum.

The Detroit Children's Museum, which is housed in the Detroit Science Center, closed its doors earlier this month. A message on their Facebook page posted on January 19 says, "we are still working on a reopening plan with Detroit Public Schools. Please stay tuned for more details."