UL to possibly take over Lafayette Science Museum

Lafayette Science Museum.jpg
Posted at 10:29 PM, Jul 22, 2021

A deal is being negotiated for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to take over operations of the Lafayette Science Museum, according to The Acadiana Advocate.

The museum on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette was closed about a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most of its staff was laid off and its budget cut by Mayor-President Josh Guillory.

As Guillory has in his Proposed American Rescue Plan Budget of 2021, the museum is said to have lost a revenue of $105,390, according to what is made available to his administration.

Museum Director Kevin Krantz is the only remaining full-time employee.

Prompted by City Council member Nanette Cook, Guillory said at a meeting Tuesday the partnership between UL and the city will be revealed in five to 10 weeks.

Guillory, since taking office in January 2020, has entered into partnerships with groups to take over some services as cost-cutting measures, including the maintenance and operation of the swimming pool at the Robicheaux Recreation Center and tennis courts and a club house at Beaver Park.

He said it cost the city about $1 million a year to operate the Lafayette Science Museum.

While the deal hasn't been finalized, it appears to involve a five-year transition period. The first year, the city would pay UL $300,000 plus utilities to operate the museum.

The second year, the city would pay the university $200,000 plus utilities. The third year, it would drop to a $100,000 contribution plus utilities and the fourth year, the city would pay only the utilities.

By the fifth year, UL would be completely responsible for the museum's operations. The city would still own the building at 433 Jefferson St., Guillory said.

The Lafayette Science Museum already has a cooperative endeavor agreement with UL's School of Geosciences, Krantz said.

"We've had a very good relationship with the university" dating back to 2013, he said. "That should be an indication of what's to come."

The museum was born in 1969 as a volunteer movement by a women's group to bring science enrichment to area schools. The Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium soon moved into a building near Girard Park and in 2002 officially moved to its current location.

In April, the museum reopened only on weekends, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. onSaturdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

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