The Aerospace Center for Excellence (ACE) broke ground on its “Project SkyLab” facility expansion at the Sun ‘n Fun Expo campus in Lakeland, Florida, on Wednesday. ACE says the new space has been designed to support its current educational programs, provide space for its higher education and technical training partners to grow their curriculum center and workforce training programs, and significantly increase the informal science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) experiences available for young people. Project SkyLab is scheduled to open in January 2021.
“ACE is a very special and important launchpad for the aerospace industry as our programs and scholarships have caught their attention worldwide,” said ACE CEO John “Lites” Leenhouts. “Because of the belief in our collective vision, ACE has the potential to be a major resource in staffing the future of the aerospace industry with its next leaders.”
According to the organization, the expansion includes 8,000 square feet of convertible space for educational use, events and exhibits, a new lobby and entrance for the Florida Air Museum, a state-of-the-art simulator training lab, holographic theater and planetarium and aerospace resource center, educator planning space and new corporate headquarters for ACE. The $4.6 million project was funded by private and corporate donations and a $493,000 grant from the State of Florida Division of Cultural Affairs.