HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Sci-Quest, the Tennessee Valley's only hands-on science museum, is in a critical financial shortage and is now planning to close temporarily.
It comes as the center is trying to raise $2 million in a capital campaign to relocate to a vacant store on Highway 20 in Madison.
Now, Calhoun Community College, which owns the building that currently houses Sci-Quest, is moving forward with other plans for that building to address its campus needs.
Nonetheless, Sci-Quest plans to continue its education efforts, while trying to raise $1 million to make the move.
This week, the center is gearing up for a two-day Halloween party on October 25th and 26th. It's an annual event designed to provide much more fun than fear.
"It's going to be family friendly," said Angela Giles, the Education Director for Sci-Quest. "It's not going to be too scary or anything like that. It's not a haunted house."
Giles said the event will be hours of science fun, set to Halloween music.
"We have stations on the floor where you get to make spooky slime, and look at different things and make things levitate with static electricity, so really showing how fun science can be," said Giles. "We blow things up, we light things on fire and do dry ice."
New this year is an exhibit of creepy creatures, such as hissing cockroaches.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, things are scary for the center. It is at a financial crisis and desperate for community support.
"It is urgent," said Cyndy Morgan, Sci-Quest's Executive Director.
She explained the center's capital campaign to raise $2 million has brought in about $900,000 to date.
Janet Martin, a spokesperson for Calhoun Community College, said the college is now moving ahead with plans to turn the Sci-Quest space into additional classrooms, labs and office space for its campus.
Sci-Quest must move out.
"As of November 30th, we're going to have to shut down operations here at Calhoun and move everything out by mid-December," said Morgan.
She insisted the move is temporary until the spring, when she hopes Sci-Quest will have the money it needs to move.
During the transition, the center's 12 full time employees will continue education programs but part-time employees will be furloughed until the center reopens.
"We're going to continue doing our home school program, our education program, after-school program at the schools, so our education program will continue," said Morgan.
Calhoun expects to start making changes to the building in early 2014, around the same time Sci-Quest hopes to be opening to the public in its new location in Madison.
Sci-Quest welcomes any amount of donation to get to its $2 million goal in order to reopen its display center. Anyone interested in attending the Halloween party can buy tickets in advance at a discounted rate. Click HERE to do that.