Education Restoration/Renovation

Renovations Completed on FSU’s Christa McAuliffe Challenger Center

FSU's Christa McAuliffe Challenger Center for Integrated Science Learning / Photos by Bill Horsman Photography

Hopkinton, MA – Gorman Richardson Lewis Architects (GRLA) announced it recently completed the renovations at the Christa McAuliffe Challenger Center for Integrated Science Learning at Framingham State University (FSU).

GRLA worked closely with the Massachusetts State College Building Authority; STV, Inc.; Commodore Builders; and Fitzemeyer & Tocci Associates ((F&T) to complete this project. The McAuliffe Center at FSU was originally built in 1994 and has been renovated to integrate the newest technologies and systems that represent the latest in Challenger Learning Centers nationwide.

The goal of the project was to convert the current center, used by students in grades K-12, into a suite of multifunctional, technology-enabled learning spaces, and to introduce modern visualizations and simulation capabilities. The lobby, Mission Control, Spacecraft, and Planetarium underwent a full redesign, along with support spaces like administration offices and restrooms. The lobby space was enhanced to accommodate large gatherings and create a seamless transition to the Challenger Command Center. The Command Center and the Spacecraft Experience were completely redesigned and equipped with new infrastructure. The planetarium was renovated to become a multifunctional space with moveable seats and equipped with state-of-the-art Projection Systems allowing presentations to be live and interactive.

Interior finishes, graphics and design elements were coordinated to promote excitement and interest in space study.

“Fitzemeyer & Tocci played a vital role in providing MEP/FP engineering for the McAuliffe Center’s modernization. The main challenge was the schedule, with a firm end date and supply chain uncertainties during design. The equipment used as the basis of design, integral to the project’s success, underwent multiple changes. Commodore Builders guided the selection of manufacturers for quick on-site availability, aligning the design phase for a successful construction phase. F&T takes pride in contributing to the lasting impact of the McAuliffe Center on countless lives and in continuing Christa McAuliffe’s mission,” said Abdullah Khaliqi, PE, CPQ, principal, academic market leader.