Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FULL STEAM AHEAD CAMPAIGN ; Clay Center Fund-Raising Closer to Goal

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

FULL STEAM AHEAD CAMPAIGN ; Clay Center Fund-Raising Closer to Goal

Article excerpt

Four months into their capital campaign, Full STEAM Ahead, the Clay Center is well on their way to raising the funds needed for planned renovations, its Board of Directors announced Thursday. "Our progress, to date, is quite good, said advisory board member Marty Becker.

So far, the Clay Center has raised over $10 million, more than 70 percent of their $14 million goal for the campaign, which is focusing on science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

"You'll remember there's nothing like having a capital campaign that starts at 50 percent and the Clay Foundation gave us that opportunity. They donated $8 million right out of the gate so that we could say with confidence in every meeting we've had that we're going to get it done, it's just a question of how much more we raise to fund the endowment part of the program.

Becker explained that $6 million of the goal is for projects, and $8 million is for endowment that will go toward the upkeep of the exhibits.

"We want to keep them in good working order and repair, which the endowment will enable us to do, he said.

"Five years down the road, 10 years down the road, when it's time to refresh these exhibits we'll have a head start in terms of having a pool of money to refresh them and keep the museum alive.

Clay Center President and CEO, Al Najjar said in order to keep the proposed timeline, construction needs to start in March in order phase one of the renovations, which will include exhibit design on the lower level and the commissioning of the climbing sculpture, to be completed by Thanksgiving.

"I'm very optimistic we're going to get to the finish line, Najjar said.

Becker announced that there are several naming opportunities for the new exhibits: My Town, WV Climber, Math + Science + Music, Water Works, Healthy Me, Museum of Art available to raise the rest of the proposed funds.

"Our expectation is next year, about this time, you'll be seeing the West Virginia Climber and the My Town exhibit in live, functioning, working order within the museum and one year later will be the other components of the campaign, Becker said. …

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