Space Foundation plans GoG corridor move in May
After nine years in a 12,000-square-foot building on South 14th Street, the Space Foundation plans to relocate in May to an office/warehouse facility over three times
that size off Garden of the Gods Road.
The international, nonprofit space-advocacy organization had help in finalizing its plans. "The approximately $960,000 purchase of the Space Foundation's portion of the building [at 4425 Arrows-west Drive] was funded primarily by the El Pomar Foundation and its internal Ackerman Fund, which granted a total of $610,000 - $385,000 in the name of El Pomar and $225,000 in the name of the Ackerman Fund," a foundation press release explains. "The Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) helped locate the property and broker the real estate deal, and the State of Colorado Economic Development Commission provided $350,000."
Technically it's a condominium agreement with the Foundation for Colorado Springs Future (FCSF), a 501(c)(3) organization established by the EDC, and the two- story, 45,715-square-foot space is part of a 171,500-square-foot office and warehouse structure recently purchased by the FCSF, the release states.
In return for this support, the Space Foundation has agreed to keep its headquarters here for the next 15 years. This includes its annual National Space Symposium at the Broadmoor, which attracts visitors and space professionals from around the world.
The foundation had started at an eastside location in 1983.
The agency bought its current, partly two-story building at 310 S. 14th St. in 2002, but has since outgrown it, according to Carol Hively, a spokesperson for the Space Foundation. Asked if the nonprofit had received any offers to move to another city, Hively said, "There were no formal offers, but there were frequent discussions that could have led to formal offers."
"The Space Foundation is thrilled to be able to remain in our home town," said organization CEO Elliot Pulham. "The EDC's support and the generous donations from El Pomar and the Ackerman Fund underscore what a supportive and savvy business community we have here."
He said funding for facility renovations at the Arrowswest site - including creation of areas for the public - is being sought from additional donors. Such funding will be bolstered, he added, when the 14th Street building is sold.
Elaborating on the public aspects, Hively said the organization is considering the development of a year-round museum offering space information and artifacts, plus a "more permanent display of the Space Technology Hall of Fame." There's a Hall now at 14th Street, and the public can drop in to see it, but "it's just a small hallway," Hively said.
The foundation is also trying to locate a rocket that's gone into space. A rendering of how that might look was displayed at the press conference last week that announced the move. The idea is to mount the rocket in front of the building, to help call attention to the site, which is in a "much more high-profile location" than the present location, Hively said. "People driving down Garden of the Gods Road will notice the building, and they can stop in."
The overall plan for the new location, according to Pulham, is to "showcase the extraordinary contributions space makes to our everyday lives and, over time, to grow our staff and services."
The Space Foundation currently has just under 50 employees, but may add to that at the new location, Hively said.
The El Pomar Foundation was "one of the first supporters of the Space Foundation nearly 30 years ago," commented El Pomar Foundation Chairman and CEO William J. Hybl. "The trustees of El Pomar are pleased to be a partner in the effort that culminates with the Space Foundation planting even deeper, long-lasting roots in our community."
"What an exciting way to kick off the New Year," said Mike Kazmierski, president and chief executive officer of the EDC. "Retention of the Space Foundation has been a priority for the EDC for the past two and a half years. The long-term commitment by one of our community's treasured assets to stay and grow right here in Colorado Springs for years to come is something worth celebrating."
The Space Foundation was started after the death of Apollo astronaut and Colorado-native John L. "Jack" Swigert, with the mission "to foster, develop, and promote, among the citizens of the United States of America and among other people of the world ... a greater understanding and awareness ... of the practical and theoretical utilization of space ... for the benefit of civilization and the fostering of a peaceful and prosperous world."
Swigert had been elected to Colorado's newly created 6th Congressional District in November 1982, but died of cancer before taking office. The foundation now has a presence at District 11's Swigert Aerospace Academy.
According to the press release, the Space Foundation "is the foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry and a leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events, including the National Space Symposium."
Westside Pioneer/press release