BISBEE—Due to an $800 a month increase in rent, the Bisbee Science Lab (BSL) may end up finding a home at the Cooper Queen Mine Tour.
Monday night, Bisbee City Council members Joan Hansen and Bill Higgins heard from Doug Graeme, manager of the mine tour and gift shop, and Bisbee Science and Exploration Research Center (BSERC) board secretary/treasurer Melanie Greene about the plan to move during a council work session.
BSERC runs the Main St. Bisbee Science Lab, a storefront mini-science center which offers hands-on exhibits and talks on science.
Greene said the rent for the current year was $1,000, a bargain for Main St. in Old Bisbee. However, the new lease proposed would increase rent to $1,800 or more, as BSERC would include a share of building maintenance. The board of directors would rather use the money to support science programs.
“We’ve had a great run on Main St.,” she said. “We’ve seen extraordinary interest.”
While some students who reside in Old Bisbee can walk to the BSL, other students may live too far away to take advantage of it, she continued.
The board opened two classrooms in the former Bisbee Middle School in San Jose to attract children from the area and the location is seeing some success for science programs.
To help those students who may want to participate but have transportation issues, she suggested the city consider a special bus fare for students so they can attend the various activities.
Higgins said, “Some sort of bus pass would be good.”
Graeme explained one of the thoughts about the science center early in the planning process was to combine the Queen Mine Tour and BESERC. And, since the mine tour “has been stagnant for the last eight to 10 years,” the center could bring new attractions and increased numbers of people who want to go on the mine tour.
The partnership could also draw more school tours, which would help both the science lab and the Queen Mine Tours, Greene said.
Graeme also said the money earned from the tours and gift shop would be kept separate from the science center, which sells some science-based activity projects and books.
“I’m excited about the change. I think it would be good for the mine tour and good for Bisbee,” Graeme said.
Greene said she, Graeme and interim City Manager Steve Pauken would work on a contract to bring to the council.
Having the approval of Graeme carried some weight with Hansen and Higgins as both thought the idea was sound.
Higgins said, “This is probably the perfect time to make a move. This is a great thing for kids. Bring us the contract as soon as you can.”
Hanson visited the rooms set up at the middle school and was impressed with what she saw. “It was exciting to see all the kids participating in the projects.”
Councilmembers Leslie Johns, Anna Cline, Joni Giacomino and Gabe Lindstrom and Mayor David Smith did not attend the work session, which does not require a quorum of members.