A proposed science museum in the Fargo-Moorhead area has received a $1 million donation from a local business leader.
Officials with the Fargo-Moorhead Science Museum say the gift from John Ballantyne will help with facility planning and feasibility studies for the facility in the community of about 250,000 people.
Ballantyne is co-founder of the Fargo biological sciences company Aldevron and serves as its chief scientific officer.
“The concept of the museum and what it means for the area is long overdue and just based on a relatively brief conversation with the board, I know the group has what it takes to make this a reality,” Ballantyne said.
The museum would focus on the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as STEM. The plans include a mobile STEM classroom.
Museum board president Ken Brazerol said the donation allows the planning process to move ahead.
“We really don’t have a facility like this from Minneapolis to Winnipeg. And we believe that this is a key cultural pillar within the Fargo-Moorhead community that we don’t have, and we can help to bring that to the community,” he said.
Brazerol said the organization will need to raise about $30 million in the next three to four years to make the museum a reality. He said initial fundraising for the project has far exceeded expectations.
“I hope this gives us a little bit of a splash in the community and gets people excited about the project and then it starts to snowball on us a little bit, with more and more people wanting to be involved,” Brazerol said.
Aldevron’s operations began in a laboratory at North Dakota State University in 1998 and have grown to include sites in Madison, Wisconsin, and Freiburg, Germany.
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