Discovery Place kicked off a fund-raising campaign for a Rockingham children's museum Monday with more than $6 million already pledged from Richmond County charitable foundations.
Richmond Community Foundations and the Cole Foundation together and have pledged $6.6 million to Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham for endowment and planning costs, Discovery Place announced. On Saturday, Discovery Place opened its first children's-oriented satellite in Huntersville.
"Our gift will primarily help provide long-term sustainability for Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham," Neal Cadieu, a board member of the Cole Foundation, said in a statement.
"Having a resource such as Discovery Place Kids-Rockingham is rare for a rural community," said Roger Staley, vice chair of the Richmond Community Foundation board. "Our hope is that this endeavor becomes a reality; if not, we will have missed a great educational opportunity that will build confidence, self-esteem and character for our young people."
Discovery Place says a goal for the fund-raising effort will be announced in a few months. An option has been taken out on the old McKenzie Furniture building on Washington Street, Rockingham's main drag, for the center and an engineering study is under way. Opening may come as early as late 2012.
For the Huntersville center, aimed at children under age 9, Discovery Place conducted a capital campaign of $3.2 million for exhibits. Discovery Place has a $1-a-year lease for 14 years in a new municipal office building in Huntersville. A similar financial model is envisioned for the branch in Rockingham, 60 miles east of Charlotte.