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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Officials envision a way to retain miSci in Schenectady, according to state and county authorities


SCHENECTADY — A proposal is currently ⁢being developed by state and⁣ county officials to ensure the ⁣Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) remains ‌in Schenectady.

Following a Thursday​ tour of⁢ the Nott Terrace museum,​ Schenectady County Legislature Chair Gary Hughes and Assemblyman ⁤Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, ‌concluded‍ that there is a feasible way to keep‌ miSci in the city, ⁤potentially through renovations to its existing location.

On Friday, Hughes revealed that a ⁤proposal, which ‌includes both ⁤state and county funding ​to ⁢maintain the museum​ at its ‍current location, could be ‌presented to miSci in⁢ the near future.

“We all have a clear understanding of how we can assist⁤ and we are certainly willing to help,” Hughes stated. “The future actions of miSci ‌will be up to them.⁢ However, ⁣we can definitely present them with a proposal that meets ⁤their needs to remain in Schenectady.”

A meeting was organized by Santabarbara at the county offices on Feb. 14 with miSci ‍officials and state and county representatives to discuss the museum’s future. A second meeting is tentatively planned for mid-March.

On⁤ Friday, Santabarbara expressed his expectation that one or more funding packages ‍will be presented ‍to ⁣miSci at the upcoming meeting.

After⁣ touring miSci’s ⁤facilities, Santabarbara does not believe‌ a significant amount of money would be ‌required to renovate the⁣ current site. Neil Golub,‍ miSci Board of Trustees ​chair, previously‍ requested $1 million from state and county officials⁢ to support the museum through the‍ rest of 2024 while the⁢ organization determines its ‌next steps.

“I am confident that everyone is willing to invest in this to make it successful,” Santabarbara said. “I can confidently say that⁤ plans are underway.‍ We⁤ have the partners, the ‍only question​ is where the ‌funding will come from.”

Following heavy⁣ rainfall in the city last⁣ July, miSci experienced hydrostatic pressure in its basement, endangering its​ archives ⁤and ‍prompting ​museum officials to seek ⁢alternative​ sites to host ‍the⁤ archives ‍and⁣ potentially the museum⁤ itself.

During the tour⁢ on⁤ Thursday, Santabarbara carefully⁢ inspected the museum basement.

“Before I was‍ elected, I was a civil engineer,”⁣ Santabarbara said on Friday. ‌“So I knew ⁤what to⁣ look ⁣for. We didn’t see any signs of moisture ⁢ [in the basement]. I was looking for water staining,⁤ rust on the metal⁣ shelves or the furnace. The metal appeared to be in pristine condition, the concrete⁣ looked as⁢ if it was ‍just‍ poured.⁣ So I didn’t see ‍any signs ‌of dampness. I‌ didn’t⁣ detect any mold⁤ smell ​in the ⁤air. We all agreed that we don’t see a​ major water problem here.”

On Friday,⁤ Santabarbara revealed that the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul has indicated that state funding‍ for miSci⁣ could be made available. ⁣He also noted that Christina Coughlin, Chief Financial Officer of the State⁤ Education Department, ‍was present at‍ Thursday’s meeting.

On⁣ Friday, Santabarbara ‌revealed that Galesi Group CEO David Buicko ⁤has offered to house‍ the museum’s archives at⁤ the ViaPort​ shopping mall in Rotterdam while any potential renovations are ⁤underway.

Ray Gillen, Schenectady County ​Metroplex​ Chair, who toured with Santabarbara and Hughes, said on Friday that county and state⁤ officials will​ regroup and consider ⁣future options‍ for miSci. Phil Barrett, Clifton Park Town Supervisor, said on​ Friday that​ he is trying ⁣to assemble ‍a taskforce to assist miSci, adding that he would welcome the museum to Saratoga County if necessary to preserve it.

Hughes believes that the‌ combined efforts of the ‍county​ and state will be able to present miSci with ⁤a⁢ viable ‌path forward.

“I believe there’s‍ a way to⁤ meet their goals ⁤at that site and secure their collection in a safer way ​for the long-term,”⁢ he said.

Reporting contributions to this story ​were made⁢ by Chad Arnold and ⁢Andrew Waite.

Kiara Thomas
Kiara Thomas
I uncover quirky and compelling stories. Always on the lookout for the 'why' behind the 'what'.
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  1. Agree – It’s great news that officials are working to keep miSci in Schenectady. It’s an important cultural and educational asset for the community.

  2. Good punctuation and grammar, agree: That’s fantastic news! miSci is such a valuable resource for the community, it’s great to see efforts being made to keep it in Schenectady.


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