South Carolina Aquarium is looking to expand its classroom space to serve 20,000 students every year in a project worth $5 million

Charleston, South Carolina – A $5 million worth expansion project is planned in expanding the classroom space to the Maritime Center at the South Carolina Aquarium, officials with the Aquarium say.

According to officials with the Aquarium, they are currently running with limited space resulting with classes to be selected on a lottery system. The interest is huge, but only one of three classes are selected with the current capacity.

The Director of Education at the aquarium Brian Thill said that they give every year teachers a chance to sign up to have their class selected, but due to capacity issues, majority of the classes don’t actually get the chance to come at the aquarium.

“We may serve about 6,000 students a year currently, but the demand is really for about 20,000 students,” Thill said. “So, we turn away a lot of students. We turn away a lot of teachers, just based on the capacity.”

According to Amie Yam-Babinchak with the South Carolina Aquarium, the plan is to transform the entire first floor of the Maritime Center into a 5,000 sq. ft. Learning Lab with several classrooms.  Yam-Babinchak says the additional classroom space would allow them to serve 20,000 students every year.

Thill believes that with the project and expanding the capacity of the first floor, they will be able to meet all the requests they have in a single year.

“The beauty of the Maritime Center, in addition to this being one of the backdrops and really one of the learning labs is that capacity will grow, we’ll be able to serve more students.”

The expansion project was presented to the Charleston city leaders last week and they are currently working on the approval process to get things going.

If the project is approved in the next couple of weeks, the expansion project will start in early 2023 and they will start operate with the new capacity in 2024.

Cindy Carey


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