The Margaret Ziedler Star Theatre is about to become one of the best of its kind in the world.
The theatre in Edmonton's Telus World of Science plans to replace its aging projectors and screen with the latest state-of-the-art 10K technology.
It's all part of a $40-million expansion project officially unveiled Tuesday by science centre president and CEO Alan Nursall.
"The Aurora project is all about making sure our infrastructure is stable and solid and our science experiences are challenging, engaging and inspirational, and meet the demands of our growing city," said Nursall.
In 2016, the science centre drew more than 500,000 visitors.
The 20,000-sq.-foot expansion will allow the centre to incorporate more science, interactivity and innovation than ever before, Nursall said.
Work on the theatre begins next week. People who have never seen a laser light show there will have one last chance during the final shows this weekend.
'Their mouths are going to drop'
"I think when this new theatre opens people will come in here and their mouths are going to drop, because it's going to make them feel like they're in these environments," said centre director Frank Florian.
"Right now, we have a dirty dome and low-resolution projectors, the images are kind of washed out they don't look that great. They still do the job, for the most part, but the 'wow' factor just isn't there."
The coming changes are great news for visitors like Randy Schaelow. The father of two was at the centre Tuesday, shortly after the 3D model of the revamped centre was unveiled. Schaelow was there to celebrate his 10-year-old son Zachary's birthday with a movie at the IMAX theatre.
When they learned about the planned 10K-resolution theatre, Schaelow and his sons were excited about the possibilities
"If that's the case it's probably pretty cool, because the IMAX is pretty wild," Schaelow said. "So I'm sure that will be pretty spectacular."
His son, Ryan, 16, said he's excited about the new technology.
"I love coming here," he said. "It's always fun and there's always something new. So If they're expanding it and making it better, that's even better."
While construction begins on the theatre next week, Nursall and his staff still have some work of their own to do.
Half of the $40-million projected cost for the expansion has already been funded by the city and the federal government, and through private donations.
Nursall said he's counting on the provincial government to chip in as well.
"The really big piece right now is the discussion with the provincial government," said Nursall, a scientist whose segment The Alan Nursall Experience appears weekly on a Discovery Channel program called Daily Planet.
"They have accepted the project, they have expressed their willingness to support it, they know that it's valuable and good," he said. "It's just a question of working with them to find the source of funds to make it possible."
The centre at 112th Avenue and 142nd Street was designed by architect Douglas Cardinal. It opened in July 1984.