A $3.2 million tax credit has provided a crucial push toward making the Cade Museum a reality in downtown Gainesville.
The 21,000-square-foot museum, named after Gatorade inventor James Robert Cade, was planned in 2010. Supporters hope it will inspire young researchers and will eventually become the focal point of Gainesville’s Depot Park at Main Street and Depot Avenue.
Richard Miles, Cade Museum vice president, said the museum is a “win, win, win” for everyone, because the government gets to put buildings in vacant areas, the museum gets cash up front, and investors get the tax credits over a 7-year-period, he said.
“Since we are a non-profit, tax credits don’t mean much to us,” Miles said. “However, we are allowed to take those tax credits and sell them. So we are able to take about $4 million worth of tax credits and sell them for $3.2 million.”
The museum, which will be structured like a sideways wagon wheel, will feature a reconstructed Gatorade gallery with original scientific equipment, a fabrication lab, laser cutting machine and a creativity lab.
“Without creative thinking, if you don’t pair that with science education, you’re not going to get inventions. You’ll get researchers, but not inventions. So creative thinking is tremendously important,” Miles said.
While The Cade Museum is not completed, this non-for-profit initiative still holds classes for children ages six and older in its creativity lab. These classes have a strong emphasis on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) and students have the opportunity to learn about the physics of lasers and magnets, and the chemistry you see everyday in your kitchen.
Patty Lipka, the Cade Museum’s program director, teaches some of these courses. She said she is excited about the museum’s growth.
“This will create a larger footprint and a greater impact in the community,” she said.
Once students see, smell and touch in the museum’s Creativity Lab they can recall the information more easily than in a traditional classroom, she said. The goal of these courses is to teach students how to be better problem solvers.
“We want them to feel like they can take on the world. It’s hard not to make lemonade when you have a lemon on your desk,” Lipka said.
The project was started with the help of groups like Gainesville’s Community Redevelopment Agency.
“This will just give them a larger presence. I think that it’s going to be a regional draw. If not, a draw to people who visit the state with the types of programs that they are going to offer,” said Sarah Vidal-Finn, CRA Interim Director.
The museum will also have interactive exhibits for kids that will give them a chance to break down inventions and solve problems by themselves.
Construction is expected to be completed by mid-2017 and open to the public in the fall of the same year.