Huntsville architect firm selected to construct Rainbow City Challenger Learning Center


The Challenger Learning Center of Northeast Alabama Advisory Council has selected Goodwyn, Mills & Cawood (GMC) of Huntsville, pending contract negotiations, to design, engineer and oversee the construction of the Challenger Learning Center building in Rainbow City.
GMC is one of the largest architectural and engineering firms in the region with offices across the Southeast, equipped to provide all of the services associated with architecture, interior design, civil engineering, environmental services, landscape architecture, planning, geotechnical engineering and electrical engineering. GMC has significant experience designing schools, parks and hospitals.
The location of the future Challenger Center will be convenient to visitors, with easy access to Interstates 59 and 759, U.S. Highway 411 and Alabama Highway 77.
To prepare for the new facility, Rainbow City will spend about $175,000 for site development of the $450,000 worth of land. The city will also do $10,000 worth of site groundskeeping for seven years and offer a school resource officer for the center once it is complete. The City of Rainbow City’s total contribution is estimated to be between $700,000 and $800,000.
The State of Alabama has committed to $8,500,000, the Community Foundation of Northeast Alabama has committed to $200,000, the Etowah County Commission has committed to $100,000 and local entities have also pledged thousands of dollars. The City of Attalla and the City of Hokes Bluff have both pledged $25,000 each and Etowah County Community Development Committees of Districts 28, 29 and 30 have all pledged $10,000 each.
“Our support proposal for the Challenger Learning Center is proof that when we work together, we can achieve great things,” Rainbow City Mayor Joe Taylor said.
The Challenger Learning Center in Rainbow City will be one of 36 centers across the United States and two other countries. So far, there are only centers in 24 states, the Alabama location will make 25.
The network of centers has reached more than six million children worldwide and provide a variety of hands-on science, technology, engineering and math programs. The centers offer fully immersive space-themed missions including shuttle simulator, mission control and transport rooms.
The center will serve students in Etowah, Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, De-Kalb, Marshall, St. Clair, northern Jefferson counties and surrounding areas.
The center is a few years out from opening doors to students. Application and design of the facility is expected to be completed in the last half of 2023 and construction is expected to begin in 2024 with a hopeful completion date in 2025.

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