New Gateway to Science building takes shape

BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – North Dakota’s Gateway to Science is getting a new technologically advanced building. Planning for the facility started in 2013, but economic downfalls and COVID-19 delayed the completion of the center until now.

Beth Demke gave tours of the epicenter of a gigantic learning center.

The Gateway to Science building on the Bismarck State College campus is easy to spot because of its size and its location on a bluff overlooking Bismarck and Mandan.

“Every time we’re in this neighborhood they ask to drive by the new building to see how construction is going and when we are driving by on the interstate, they point it out and say, ‘Hey, look it’s the new Gateway to Science building,’” Bismarck resident Sarah Olson said.

New additions include a maker’s space, which allows students to get creative with a hands-on approach to learning, outdoor study areas and exhibits that incorporate science from all around North Dakota.

“I hope it is going to be really fun, just as fun as this building,” Gateway to Science summer camper Corran Olson said.

The new building will have 13,700 square feet of gallery space, which is five times larger than the current one. This creates more space for exhibits and educational areas for summer camps.

The Department of Public Instruction granted $20,000 toward new programs that will be taught here.

“Going forward in the future in our new facility we will be able to serve far more students which is great because we now have a waiting list,” Executive Director of North Dakota’s Gateway to Science Beth Demke said.

One unique feature this new building has is a view where you can see science happening.

“And it wraps around the building, so we will have the enormous deck,” Demke said. “You can see the science out there, so you can see the refinery, the water, the transportation.”

Before construction started there was a geotechnical survey to ensure that putting the new structure on the edge of a hill is safe.

“We put in the right structure and support to make sure we won’t have those kinds of problems, so it is all about science,” Demke said.

Next year, when this facility is open, kids will be going to summer camps that will teach them computer coding, construction, engineering design and crafting inventions.

The new building is scheduled to open at the end of this year.