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DeKalb City Council to discuss next phase of STEAM learning center proposal

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A study into whether funds can be raised to build and operate the STEAM Center downtown will be discussed during DeKalb's City Council meeting Monday.[]

DeKALB – A study into whether funds can be raised to build and operate an education center downtown will be discussed during DeKalb’s Committee of the Whole meeting Monday.

A philanthropic market feasibility assessment, if approved, will show whether funds can be raised to support the construction and ongoing operations of the proposed STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) Center.

A previous feasibility study, the first phase of the project proposal, was shown to the City Council in June. It recommended the Mooney property at 204 N. Fourth St. as a potential site, setting an annual operating budget of between $200,000 and $500,000, and anticipating construction costs of about $13 million. It also requires a $4 million tax increment financing contribution from the city.

Staff is recommending an agreement with RATIO Architects Inc. for the new study, in an amount not to exceed $114,000. The fiscal 2017 budget earmarks $400,000 within the Central Area TIF Fund, which puts the project within the budgeted parameters, according to city documents.

The council is expected to vote on whether to hire the firm during its Oct. 23 meeting.

The Committee of the Whole meeting will be at 5 p.m. in the council chambers of the DeKalb Municipal Building at 200 S. Fourth St. The regular council meeting will follow at
6 p.m.