REGINA -- The Saskatchewan Science Centre is undergoing major renovations thanks to a more than $2 million grant from the federal and provincial governments.

The $2,163,145 in funding is part of a $50 million investment announced for 55 infrastructure projects across the province on May 6.

The Government of Canada is providing $1,179,951 of the Saskatchewan Science Centre project funding, while the Saskatchewan Government is giving $983,194. The centre has also started fundraising to cover the $786,732 left for the project.

“Bathrooms, flooring, painting walls. A lot of our public facing facilities like our ticket kiosk at the front are no longer accessible. Not only accessible for visitors, but not accessible for our employees. So we’ll be making those things accessible for any types of disabilities,” Saskatchewan Science Centre CEO Sandy Baumgartner said.

The money will also be used to create new features and to expand on exhibits, as well as finding ways to follow new COVID-19 protocols.

“Things like the put your face in a wall of nails, it’s not something that’s very COVID friendly anymore, so we’ve removed that from the exhibit floor. Things like the smell test,” Baumgartner said.

The centre is looking at different types of buttons and mechanisms for its exhibits. It has removed the demonstration stage to provide space.

It is also updating the agriculture and nature exhibits and enhancing the building connections exhibit.

“All of those to accommodate the new requirements that we’re going to be faced with in terms of physical distancing,” Baumgartner said.

Like its boreal forest themed bathrooms, the centre plans to do something similar in the rest of the building.

“Having new washrooms is super exciting. I’ve never seen kids run into the bathroom, and then they come out, and they’re like ‘come on in, come look at the bathroom,’ so even our bathrooms are cool,” Saskatchewan Science Centre Public Programs Coordinator Sheila Beaubien Chua said. “We’re always changing things, but to have everything happen all at once is pretty dramatic.

However, Baumgartner said there are some exhibits that need to stay.

“Things like the bubble area and the hot air balloon, I call them science centre staples. They’ll get a facelift, but we’ll still have those as those iconic things that people really enjoy,” Sandy Baumgartner, CEO, Saskatchewan Science Centre.

Designs for new additions are already underway. Construction is expected to start later in 2021.