STEM-focused education center opens at Hill Aerospace Museum

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Officials from the Hill Aerospace Museum are hoping a “hands-on” classroom, which will eventually feature learning space inside a real C-130 Hercules, will turn Top of Utah kids onto STEM.

The museum’s new Marc C. Reynolds Aerospace Center for Education was unveiled April 27, marking the completion of a six-month construction project that provides a permanent space for Northern Utah school children to learn about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through the lens of flight.

The museum is located at 7961 Wardleigh Road, just east of the 5600 South freeway interchange in Roy.

Robb Alexander, executive director of Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah, said the center — named after Reynolds, a former commander of Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Center — will provide elementary students with activities and programs that correspond to the STEM curriculum taught in Utah schools.

Using museum assets as learning tools, the center will teach kids about aerodynamics, astronautics, flight simulation, propulsion and structures and materials, Alexander said. This summer, an aviation camp will be held at the center, a four-day crash course on aviation science and fundamentals.

The new facility features two floors with three large classrooms, a rocket ship elevator and a miniature air traffic control tower that will also serve as a learning space. Eventually, an old C-130 that’s been at the museum for more than a decade will be permanently parked just outside the center, also serving as learning space.

Alexander said the Heritage Foundation is also working with Ogden, Weber and Davis School districts for some more formal partnerships between local schools and the new center.

Aaron Clark, director of the museum, said pilots from Hill will also participate in the program.

“We’re really just getting started with this,” Alexander said. “But we feel like we can do some great things. This is going to be a very hands-on experience where kids can learn (about STEM) in a completely unique way.”

The center cost about $650,000 to build. Aside from a $100,000 appropriation from the Utah State Legislature, the facility was funded by private donors. The facility was built by Kier Construction, and Ogden-area architect Ray Bertoldi designed the center free of charge. For more information, call the museum at 801-777-6868.