A public meeting has been set for next Tuesday to discuss the possible creation of a non-traditional community center inside the old hospital.
The Imagineering Innovation Center, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization has been created and is overseeing the project. Organization spokesperson Dustin Garrett told the Booneville City Council last month plans include a fab lab, an after school science technology engineering and math (STEM) program and botanical gardens.
Garrett said the organization has requested, and been told affirmatively, a delegate of the Prime Minster of Israel will be in attendance at the meeting.
“They transformed an entire nation with something very similar to this, something similar to what we do at robotics,” Garrett said. “We’ve made friends all over the world now, we’ve traveled all over doing this. We’re bringing some of the resources we’ve gathered, some of the knowledge we’ve gathered back home.”
Garrett said though the project is not part of the school’s highly successful robotics program, it is essentially an extension of it.
“We have seen the difference it has made in the kids’ lives. We’re all passionate about it,” Garrett said of the robotics program. “We’re going to continue on it. We’ve got a model of what we’ve done and we’re expanding on that.”
The fab lab, Garrett said will allow for the creation of machine prototypes. The STEM program is directed at kids who are interested in robotics but don’t have the time it takes to participate in the program.
The end result is “we’re developing a highly qualified work force,” said Garrett.
The botanical gardens are simply to beautify the city, which, along with the qualified work force, make Booneville more attractive to industry.
Garrett said the end goal is also to get the program up and running and turn it over to the city.
Mayor Jerry Wilkins said of all the proposals for the old hospital that have come before the council for consideration, “this is the one to get on board with.”
The meeting will be held at 5 p.m., Aug. 14, at the Jeral Hampton Meeting Place.