Science center supporters eye next step in Rockville -- Gazette.Net


Former Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio has been part of a group of people working to develop a science center in the city for 25 years.

And while the project still has a long way to go, organizers, with a fresh round of funding, are looking at sites and preparing to take the next step.

In April, the General Assembly approved a $75,000 bond bill to fund land acquisition, design and development of a site for the facility. The bill stipulates that supporters must raise a matching amount.

“We’re on our way, to some degree,” Marcuccio said.

The project will ultimately cost in the millions of dollars, said Soo Lee-Cho, a lawyer and member of the board of trustees of the nonprofit Rockville Science Center Inc.

No location has been chosen, but the group is looking at several sites in Rockville, she said.

The center will include areas for hands-on activities, workshops and labs for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics; an auditorium with multimedia equipment for programs and presentations; and space where science groups can meet.

Organizers also plan to create programs such as science cafes, robotics leagues and summer camps, plus one for sponsoring and judging the ScienceMontgomery Science Fair’s Award for Excellence in Communication of Science.

Marcuccio said she would love to see the center develop into a hub of information, where people of any age can go to engage their interests and exchange information about science.

Science teaches you how to think logically so that you can solve any problem, she said.

“Teaching kids how to do that is power,” she said.

State Sen. Jennie M. Forehand (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville, who sponsored the bond bill with Del. James W. Gilchrist (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville, said the center has been going on for years even without a permanent location, and always draws a huge number of people to its annual science fair. The center’s website is

Marcuccio said Rockville has many positive attributes, including a well-educated and stable workforce and a downtown that is home to state and local government facilities.

“It seems like we’re missing one little element, and that is a science center,” she said.