WMSC
Lamping Elementary

September 12, 2005 the William McCool Science Center opened for classes!

This is what William McCool said about experiencing being in space.  This is how we want students to feel when they're in our 4,300 square foot interactive Science Center and Gardens.

“there is so much more than what I ever expected, it’s beyond imagination,
until you actually get up and see it and experience it and feel it.”

It was the dream of Lamping’s first principal and science specialist, Jerry Boles and Kathy Grimes respectively, to build a free-standing Science Center.  When Michael O’Dowd became principal in 2002, he and the current science specialist, Stephanie Steckler, embraced that dream and started to make it a reality.

A partnership was formed with Barry and Audrey McCool to honor their son by naming the future Science Center after William McCool, pilot of the ill-fated Columbia Space Shuttle Mission.  It was Willie McCool’s dream to teach students the wonders of science when he retired from NASA.  It seemed only appropriate that the Lamping’s Science Center continue his dream. 

After the successful Reaching for Stars Gala, held in October, 2003, Lamping purchased a three-quarter scale space shuttle simulator and mission control center, the first of its kind on the West Coast.  Our students now sit in the cockpit, manipulate the controls and use critical thinking skills to solve challenging problems through actual space flight simulations.  Our children now have a shot at traveling in space before they even think of getting a driver’s license! 

With a successful fundraiser complete, Mr. O’Dowd moved to form the William McCool Science Center Foundation, inviting committed parents and key community members to become founding board members and guide the direction of building the center. 

The first Fun Run was in May, 2004 and coincided with the PTA Spring Carnival.  Next came the first Lightning Bolt Open golf tournament, held in June, 2004.  The proceeds from the tournament allowed the now non-profit foundation to purchase a large-scale inflatable planetarium where students explore the wonders of astrology, the solar system and even mythology.  Due to its immense size, the planetarium will continue to be set up in the school’s multi-purpose room. 

The Super Science Kids campaign, which offered sponsorship and naming opportunities, took fundraising for the William McCool Science Center to the next level, raising more than $170,000 in just seven months.  The Building a Strong Foundation Gala, held in February, 2005, brought in nearly $90,000.

With a fundraising track record and money in the bank, the board moved to secure $150,000 in private loans to ensure the center would open in the fall of 2005, allowing students to continue the educational momentum that allowed the school to be deemed “High Achieving”.  

Construction of the William McCool Science Center began in April, 2005 and the building opened for classes September, 2005. 

Thanks to donations and many in-kind donations from several contractors involved in building the Science Center, we are now debt-free. 

Fundraising continued in the 2005-2006 school year with Celebrate Science Gala and the Lightning Bolt Open.  These very successful events raised $110,000 and $40,000 respectively which was enough to build the Tri-Desert Garden and Paleontology Dig Station.  The Magic of Science Gala in 2007 raised over $171,000.

The Greenhouse was added in the Spring of 2008. The greenhouse will primarily be used to house an economic unit for 4th graders. Students take out 5% interest loans to purchase supplies, plant and grow flowers, and sell them for profit. Students learn to prepare a business plan, budget, and keep a checkbook ledger.

With building complete, the Lamping community continues to dedicate itself to the task of fundraising to maintain excellence in science. The annual budget for the center is approximately $45,000. This amount covers mainly supplies and salaries.

The money raised to support our science center is well spent. Since adding additional resources to the center, science scores have skyrocketed to all-time highs!

Currently, 10-12 field trips are hosted in the center's Paleontology Area.

A big thank you to the Lamping families and community supporters who make our center and stellar science instruction possible.