TROY — The Waco Air Museum’s Learning Center celebrated its 20th anniversary by digging into its future on Friday.
The WACO Air Museum’s Learning Center officially broke ground for its new $1.5 million learning facility dedicated to the thousands of local children and community members it takes under their wing each year.
WACO Air Museum Learning Center’s Executive Director Nancy Royer shared the facility’s architect’s rendering with the public and recognized the efforts of its board and the center’s volunteers.
The facility was awarded a $1 million gift from the Thom and Pat Robinson Fund this year. The learning center will be raising funds for approximately $500,000 for the rest of the building project. The building is expected to be complete by next fall.
“The first time I had anything with WACO I was at Tom Hartzell’s house watching the gliders during the war. I just always liked it. The main thing I like is the children coming here for schooling … I’m so proud and it’s a good way to get it started,” Thom Robinson said.
The learning center’s first director Jim Beisner also attended and helped the center’s youth with the first official shovel full of dirt.
“A lot of growth has taken place. It has expanded. The kids have been phenomenal. It’s been wonderful to see them challenge us in new areas of learning and today we want to celebrate the new beginning of the new building,” Royer said.
More than 1,800 students visited the learning center and 8,000 instructional hours were logged in 2016, she said.
“This building will be for them as they carry on the future … here at the learning center,” Royer said.
The new building will house multiple classrooms and lab space for the organization’s education programs, including WACO’s award winning FTC robotics team, First LEGO League teams, aviation cadets, NASA teaching training and ground school programs.
The building will be constructed by Bruns. The Operating Engineers Training Program donated the site work for the learning center as well as other projects on the Waco campus.
The learning center will be located behind the hangar and museum buildings. Royer said the WACO Historical Society also will be hosting various fundraising efforts.
Royer unveiled a limited edition Waco pin at the gift shop for $50 with all proceeds to benefit the learning center’s project.
For more information, visit www.wacoairmuseum.org.
Follow Melanie Yingst on Twitter @Troydailynews
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