World-class space center tentatively planned for Westfield

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Grand Universe might be coming to Westfield.

“It will be a world-class space center here in Central Indiana bringing science to life, changing the world (near Grand Park),” Link Observatory Space Science Institute Executive Director/CEO Greg McCauley told a combined luncheon of Chamber of Commerce from Westfield and Zionsville Aug. 15. “To the right of Tomlinson Road and the Monon (Trail) is 67 acres called Grand Universe. Our capital campaign is underway.”

McCauley said they are not supposed to make an official public announcement until 60 percent of its capital campaign is achieved.

“We’re not there yet,” said McCauley, who was at the luncheon to talk about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The Astronaut David Wolf Observatory is the first stage of the planned development, which will be almost 101,000 square feet, McCauley said. Wolf, 62, was born in Indianapolis and graduated from North Central High School and Purdue University.

“In the center is a 60-foot diameter, full-digital 360 planetarium, and (it’s) IMAX capable,” McCauley said. “It’s the largest in the state of Indiana.”

There is a twin observatory, McCauley said.

“It would be the largest public urban observatories in the country with research-grade telescopes, both daytime telescopes for the sun and nighttime telescopes for astrophysics,” he said. “It’s all going to be glass (as the roof). It’s absolutely going to be magnificent.

“We’re going to have 50,000 square feet of exhibit area. We have a wide variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering., Math) education programs. We are going to propel Westfield Schools to No. 1 for education in the state of Indiana from Grand Universe.”

McCauley not only mentioned Westfield Washington Schools and said schools in Zionsville and all of Hamilton County would benefit greatly.

“From there, the rest of the state (will benefit) and from there the rest of the country, and the rest of the world. We’re going to change the world with this,” he said. “Our future projects are the Grand University STEM Learning Center, the Center for Commercial Space Flight, Center for Space Exploration and observatory park along the Monon. It will be the premier Monon destination.”

McCauley said the goal is to hit 1 million visitors annually.

“We may hit that our first year,” he said.

McCauley said the goal is to be the No. 1 destination for school field trips.

“Twenty million dollars in annual revenue above and beyond our capital campaigns,” he said.  “It was proven to us once before 50 years ago (with the moon landing), if anything worthwhile is going to be accomplished, you have to dream big.”

McCauley did not announce the funds needed to construct Grand Universe, and he also didn’t speak on how much the project has raised so far. McCauley declined to comment further on the proposed development.

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