A deal is being negotiated for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to take over operations of the Lafayette Science Museum.
The museum on Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette was closed about a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of its staff was laid off and its budget cut by Mayor-President Josh Guillory. Museum Director Kevin Krantz is the only remaining full-time employee.
Prompted by City Councilwoman Nanette Cook, Guillory said at a meeting Tuesday the partnership between UL and the city will be revealed in 5-10 weeks.
Guillory, since taking office in January 2020, has entered into partnerships with groups to take over some services as cost-cutting measures, including the maintenance and operation of the swimming pool at the Robichaux Recreation Center and tennis courts and a club house at Beaver Park.
He said it cost the city about $1 million a year to operate the Lafayette Science Museum.
While the deal hasn’t been finalized, it appears to involve a five-year transition period. The first year, the city would pay UL $300,000 plus utilities to operate the museum. The second year, the city would pay the university $200,000 plus utilities. The third year, it would drop to a $100,000 contribution plus utilities and the fourth year, the city would pay only the utilities.
By the fifth year, UL would be completely responsible for the museum’s operations. The city would still own the building at 433 Jefferson St., Guillory said.
The Lafayette Science Museum already has a cooperative endeavor agreement with the UL Lafayette School of Geosciences, Krantz said.
“We’ve had a very good relationship with the university” dating back to 2013, he said. “That should be an indication of what’s to come.”
The museum was born in 1969 as a volunteer movement by a women’s group to bring science enrichment to area schools. The Lafayette Natural History Museum and Planetarium sooned moved into a building near Girard Park and in 2002 officially moved to its current location.
In April, the museum reopened only on weekends, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and 1-6 p.m. on Sundays.
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