Mercy Hospital Joplin and Wallace-Bajjali Partner to Build a Science and Discovery Center

By Carla Pesono

Published 02/12 2014 08:36PM

Updated 02/12 2014 11:14PM

JOPLIN, MO.--- Mercy Hospital Joplin and Wallace-Bajjali are working to build a science and discovery center in Joplin. They are pretty close to reaching a formal agreement for this science and discovery center and are hoping within the next six months agreements will be reached and they can start the process. 

"It's a vast learning opportunity for children of all ages," said Gary Box, Wallace-Bajjali Project Manager. 

Project manager for Wallace-Bajjali, Gary Box, says a year ago officials with Mercy Hospital Joplin had a meeting with them about nine acres of land at the southeast corner of 26th and McClelland, the former site of St. John's Regional Medical Center. That land was given to the city after the May 2011 tornado to be used as a tornado museum, but the city didn't have that interest so they spoke with residents to see what they wanted.

"So what it ultimately became was a science or a discovery center, because what we wanted to potentially do is provide something that we don't have right now," said Box. 

"It's exciting and we're hoping the process as we get through it will culminate into this really cool science center," said Gary Pulsipher, Mercy Hospital Joplin President. 

The center will be used for the public and for all schools in the area for classes and field trips. 

"It's just not for students though, it's going to be broad base but with the education possibilities. We anticipate local schools being able to utilize it," said Box. 

Box says there also will be some static and some rotating displays. After talking with the National Weather Service and other weather affiliations, they knew it needed to have a weather flare to it as well.

"It has to. That's ground zero for the tornado, but we want to make it more than just that," said Box. 

"It's a very exciting possibility for Joplin and I think with all the public input we got, the citizens are really looking forward to something like this happening," said Pulsipher.

Mercy Hospital Joplin and Wallace-Bajjali are now working to finance the project and sort out how long it will take. They are hoping ot have the center completed some time in 2016.

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