How to weigh in on the PacSci courtyard renovation project

The center is seeking feedback from the public.

A bird's eye view of the Pacific Science Center courtyard with the famed white arches shown prominently

The Pacific Science Center courtyard has kept its primary attractions for 61 years.

Photo via Pacific Science Center

Ah, you gotta love a big renovation project — especially when it involves plastic dinosaurs.

In case you haven’t heard, the Pacific Science Center’s 60-year-old courtyard known for its arch views, Jurassic sculptures, and reflecting pools is being considered for upgrades.

Earlier this year, PacSci announced plans to modernize the space designed by famed architect Minoru Yamasaki to keep up with today’s sustainability and accessibility standards. The center’s proposal included everything from basic refreshes to bolder ideas like filling the pools with a small meadow of native plants. Initial cost estimates were in the $17-$37 million range.

The meadow proposal raised eyebrows from the city’s Landmark Board members and preservation advocates. Now, PacSci is looking for public feedback to help shape the courtyard’s future and come up with a revised plan.

Fair flashback

Decades after its debut, the courtyard and PacSci pavilion is still a beaut. Yamasaki created it for the World’s Fair in 1962, establishing a peaceful oasis away from the fair’s hubub, complete with those famed arches hovering above.

More playful elements like water cannons and the dinosaur sculptures were added over the years. The courtyard’s original elements remained mainly the same, but the leaky ponds needed to be resealed in 2011.

Seeking improvement

In 2010, the whole Pacific Science Center building with the courtyard became a landmark. That means significant changes must be approved by the Landmarks Preservation Board — however, minor renovations are allowed.

The courtyard’s stewards are looking to:

  • Meet updated ADA requirements for pool edges, plaza, and restrooms.
  • Address its water waste (the pools lose 26 million gallons of H2O annually due to leaks and evaporation).
  • Minimize ongoing maintenance costs.

It’s your turn

PacSci’s early 2023 presentation laid the renovation’s groundwork, but the project won’t move forward until the community weighs in.

There’s an anonymous online survey active through Thursday, Aug. 31 where you can send in your thoughts. Don’t hold back — it’s for science, after all.