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One Million Dollars For Science Center Is One Step Closer

July 24, 2007
By JEFFREY B. COHEN, Courant Staff Writer

A committee of the U.S. Senate approved $1 million for the construction of the $150 million Connecticut Science Center in Hartford last week, and Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman said Monday he hopes the House will do the same.

"Keep your fingers crossed," Lieberman told a small audience inside the convention center adjacent to the construction site Monday. "But more than that, we're going to work hard so that next time I come I can actually say that million dollar check is in the mail."

If it is approved by the Congress, the $1 million federal contribution will reduce the total left to be raised to $7.7 million, center officials said. The $150 million project got $107 million from the state and the rest from the federal government and private donors.

The money will be used for landscaping and pedestrian amenities at the 40,000-square-foot plaza linking the science center with the Connecticut Convention Center.

The center, expected to open in fall 2008, is on schedule, said center President Theodore Sergi. Its parking garage is structurally complete. The steel infrastructure of the center itself will be done in August. And by the winter, the center should be enclosed, Sergi said.

Rising construction costs continue to be a challenge, he said, but they've not resulted in drastic changes.

"Nothing that diminishes the science center," Sergi said.

Lieberman joined Sergi and Mayor Eddie A. Perez to announce the potential funding and said he'll work in conference committee with his House colleagues to ensure that the center gets the money.

"We've got some work to do yet," Lieberman said. "It happens not to be in the House version of this bill, although our House colleagues are supportive."

"We have made clear that this is a priority project for Connecticut," he said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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