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Regional youth science center breaks ground in Johnson City

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Officials broke ground at the old feed mill in Johnson City on Dec. 3 to begin construction of the Hill Country Science Mill. Pictured are Robert Elde (left), vice president of the Hill Country Science Mill board; Carol Willis, secretary of the board; Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, a member of the board; Mayor Dawn Capra; Cristi Clement, a member of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors; Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger; Russ Whitlock, superintendent of the National Parks Service; and Bonnie Baskin, the founder of the Hill Country Science Mill. Courtesy photo

Officials broke ground at the old feed mill in Johnson City on Dec. 3 to begin construction of the Hill Country Science Mill. Pictured are Robert Elde (left), vice president of the Hill Country Science Mill board; Carol Willis, secretary of the board; Texas Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick, a member of the board; Mayor Dawn Capra; Cristi Clement, a member of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative board of directors; Burnet County Judge Donna Klaeger; Russ Whitlock, superintendent of the National Parks Service; and Bonnie Baskin, the founder of the Hill Country Science Mill. Courtesy photo

JOHNSON CITY — State and local dignitaries gathered Dec. 3 for a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the official start of construction for the Hill Country Science Mill.

The center, to be located at the intersection of Nugent and Main Street off U.S. 290, will offer families an interactive learning experience through fun exhibits and programs, according to project developers.

“It’s critical to encourage today’s youth to become part of this country’s scientific and technologically literate population,” said Bonnie Baskin, the founder of the nonprofit science center. “A clear understanding of science and technology is essential to our future economy and critical to their understanding and dealing with complex issues that need to be addressed in the coming years.”

The unoccupied feed mill structure dates to 1880, when a gristmill and cotton gin were first built on the site. In 1901, the owners added a flour mill. By the1930s, the building was converted into a storehouse for agricultural feed.

Nonprofit developers envision building onto and transforming existing areas of the old feed mill in Johnson City, located at the intersection of Nugent and Main Street off U.S. 290, to create the Hill Country Science Mill, a museum-style center featuring technology and education learning exhibits aimed at youth. Courtesy of www.sciencemill.org

Nonprofit developers envision building onto and transforming existing areas of the old feed mill in Johnson City, located at the intersection of Nugent and Main Street off U.S. 290, to create the Hill Country Science Mill, a museum-style center featuring technology and education learning exhibits aimed at youth. Courtesy of www.sciencemill.org

The site was purchased in 2012 by developers, who plan to keep in tact some of the structures, including the original mill buildings and six silos, while constructing a new addition. The center is expected to be open in November 2014.

Officials say the center will provide hands-on tools to educate children about careers in science, engineering, researchers and technology.

Other features will include exhibits and programs geared toward middle and high school students.

Go to www.sciencemill.org for more information.

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