SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - The Sci-Port Discovery Center has seen a lot of financial struggles over the last few years — but in July things took a turn for the better.
The city of Shreveport and Red River STEM entered into a cooperative agreement that would allow the non-profit to take over the center. The non-profit recently hired Dianne Clark as the center's new executive director.
Clark recently served as the Chief Workforce Development Officer and Mansfield Campus Dean for Northwest Louisiana Technical College, and she also served as Interim Director of the College for two years.
She has almost 30 years of technical education experience, as well as experience with budgets and grant writing.
"I wanted to get back into the education role, and this was my opportunity," she said. "I have the grant writing experience. I have the budget experience. I have the administrative experience, but most of all I have the compassion for the learner."
Clark said this opportunity fell in her lap, and she believed it was the right time for her to make a career change.
Red River STEM's chairman, Jay Pierson said along with her resume Clark showed a lot of enthusiasm for the job and believes she can make some good changes for the center.
"She was in a spot where she was ready to retire," he said. "She was able to come join us with what we were able to pay and at the same time she had the technical background that we were looking for."
Sci-Port's Director of Education and Programs, Alan Brown also thinks Clark was a good choice and knows she'll be involved and hands-on at the center.
"We all wear separate hats and multiple hats, and I'm sure that Dianne is going to be active and she's not going to be sitting back in her office," he said. "She's going to be helping us maintain our current level of openness."
Clark says she has plans to get most of the building back up and running. She wants to get the Planetarium up and running first, and then work on the rooftop next.
She also wants Sci-Port to take advantage of the rooftop that they have. Currently, they still host birthday parties there, but she thinks it has the potential to hold some new and different events.
Clark says she is looking into subleasing the center to local vendors who can come in and bring some new things that it's never had before.
She hopes in a year she can bring more stability to Sci-Port, and she wants to give the public something new that they deserve.
"We don't want to be stale," she said. "We don't want the public to see the same thing that they've been seeing year after year, so our goal is to bring in new and different (ideas) and change it out."
When it comes to money, Clark and Pierson both agree Sci-Port just can't run on revenue alone.
Pierson says they just can't charge enough money to cover all of the expenses, so they really need more contributions from those in the community to sustain the center.