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Science museum could get $7 million in naming rights deal with this company

Powerhouse Science Center prepares to launch to new site

Sacramento’s Powerhouse Science Center prepares to move from its humble suburban home to historic site on Sacramento River.
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Sacramento’s Powerhouse Science Center prepares to move from its humble suburban home to historic site on Sacramento River.

The Powerhouse Science Center is in line for another major financial boost.

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District board of directors was expected to vote Thursday night in favor of a $7 million naming rights deal for the museum that is planned along the banks of the Sacramento River north of downtown. The 20-year deal would start this year and is described in a SMUD staff report as an “exclusive naming rights” partnership. SMUD’s management staff and Powerhouse officials still need to negotiate the final terms.

SMUD had already agreed in 2013 to a sponsorship deal with the museum worth $2.25 million. This agreement would be in addition to that contribution.

“This opportunity would provide significant visibility to SMUD, as well as important economic development benefits to the entire region,” a SMUD staff report reads. “The Science Center and its mission directly align with SMUD’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and outreach objectives and our workforce development priorities.”

Powerhouse executive director Harry Laswell said he “would expect that the SMUD name would be incorporated into the name” of the museum facility, much like Golden 1 Credit Union has the title sponsor for the arena downtown.

“We couldn’t be more excited,” Laswell said. “There is great mission alignment and we’re very pleased to have their support.”

The City Council voted in December to contribute $30 million to the museum over the next 30 years. That vote was seen as the final step in launching the project toward a groundbreaking early this summer.

The museum will occupy a 105-year-old shuttered PG&E plant on the Sacramento River. The facility will have a 120-seat planetarium and 20,000 square feet of exhibit space dedicated to nature, water and space exploration. There will also be room for three to four traveling exhibits each year.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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