State approves $5 million to construct second building at Downey space center

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DOWNEY — The California Assembly voted to approve a funding bill Thursday that allocates $5.8 million for Downey’s Columbia Memorial Space Center.

Of that money, $5 million will be used to construct a second building on the space center grounds. The remaining $800,000 is earmarked to purchase a 3D printer and audio/visual system.

“I am so pleased to be able to bring almost $6 million back to my district for the Columbia Memorial Space Center,” said Assemblymember Cristina Garcia. “The Space Center is a great treasure of the 58th district, and I look forward to seeing how much more they can expand their services to the district and the greater Los Angeles area.”

Many details are still unclear, including when the building will be constructed and what it will house.

However, Ben Dickow, executive director of the Space Center, said the legislature’s financial support of the Space Center “represents an expansion of its ability to serve more communities in Southern California and to bring our high-quality STEM experiences to more people.”

“It’s a testament to the local legacy of innovation from the Apollo program 50 years ago, which was born on our site in Downey,” Dickow added. “This gift will allow the Space Center to bring that spirit of exploration and discovery to new generations, helping to fulfill our mission to ignite a community of creative and critical thinkers.”

In a statement, Downey Mayor Rick Rodriguez called the Space Center “a special place in Downey.”

“It is a place where our youth learn about the history of space exploration, the present and the future,” Rodriguez said. “It teaches and inspires the new generation of explorers, engineers, robotics and technicians that will continue to explore planet earth and the rest of the solar system.”

NewsEric Pierce