WESTFIELD, Ind. — A massive development is being planned for Westfield, right next door to Grand Park. “Grand Universe” will be a state-of-the-art space center with the goal of encouraging young minds to pursue careers in science and technology.
The development is being led by Birch Dalton with EdgeRock Development, but the space center project is being launched by the Link Observatory Space Science Institute and their director Greg McCauley.
"If you look right out there in the middle," McCauley said as he pointed to an empty 55-acre plot of land, "right in the center of that field right there will be this magnificent 50,000 square foot footprint of this magnificent building.”
The massive space center will not only include the largest public planetarium in the state, but also thousands of square feet of exhibits and a massive observatory with 30-foot domes and telescopes named after Hoosier astronaut David Wolf.
“17 or 18 astronauts came from Purdue university, and yet Indianapolis remarkably is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country that doesn't have a space center,” McCauley said
Since the Challenger Learning Center in Brownsburg closed about seven years ago, Grand Universe will fill a void left in central Indiana, launching students into STEM careers.
“We have fallen behind in science and technology," McCauley said. "We believe Grand Universe will help us again take that leap.”
Grand Universe hopes to attract young families who are in town for events at Grand Park, and also attract families from across the state. Westfield sees the project as another reason for people to visit the area.
"When you look at what we’re doing in Westfield, we’re really building a place for families and businesses," said Vicki Duncan-Gardner, Director of Communications for the City of Westfield. "When you have those kind of investments like a Grand Universe, like a Grand Park, that can appeal to families really of all ages, that's what we want in Westfield."
With the idea set in motion, the project still needs final approval. However McCauley already sees the future, and the young minds who will lead us there.
“The next space race has already begun, and it will, like the first space race, inspire millions of people, young people, to pursue careers in science and technology," McCauley said. "That's what Grand Universe is all about.”
Edgerock also plans to include a community center filled with laser tag and a go-kart track.
McCauley hopes to have Grand Universe ready to open in the Spring of 2024, the same time NASA is planning their next mission to the moon.
If you would like to donate to the project, click HERE.