Case Study:

Empowering Education

The Client: Situated within the Scobee Education Center of San Antonio College, the John L. Santikos Micronaut Center aims to ignite a passion for learning. Built around Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) education, the Micronaut Center’s purpose is to foster problem-solving, teamwork, and communication through an immersive and interactive educational experience. 

"There's not going to be another area in San Antonio, or maybe even in Texas, or even in the nation that you're going to get space education and STEAM education with high-level, hands-on activities for our youngest students in elementary."

The Need

The establishment of the John L. Santikos Micronaut Center was created to expand San Antonio College’s space-focused STEAM education. The Scobee Education Center was utilizing a single space to accommodate programming for both the Challenger Learning Center, designed for students 10 and older, and Micronaut Program, designed for students ages 4 to 9. Both national programs were developed to carry on the legacy of the ‘Teacher in Space’ mission that ended in disaster in 1986. By using a shared space for the two different programs, educators faced challenges that included retrofitting engagements and limited availability.

To address the growing issues, San Antonio College made the decision to construct the Micronaut Center in conjunction with its new Early Childhood Center. The joint effort resulted in the addition of more than 21,000 square feet of space to the Scobee Education Center campus.

The new construction allowed the new Micronaut Center to be precisely tailored to meet the exact standards necessary to equip the space with next-generation, technology-rich educational experiences. 

"When the kids come in here, because of the investment and that creative process, they come in here and they lose track of where they are in reality. They can suspend reality and be in space for 90 minutes."

The Solution

The John L. Santikos Micronaut Center was skillfully designed, fabricated, and installed by Exhibit Concepts, which leaned on its more than 20-year history in crafting educational spaces. O’Connell Robertson, based in Austin, Texas, served as architect on the project. JT Vaughn Construction, located in Houston, Texas, assumed the role of general contractor.

The collaboration resulted in the creation of a versatile space that enables educators at the Scobee Education Center to simultaneously run both the Challenger Learning Center and Micronaut Program.

As part of the educational experience, the completed Micronaut Center replicates a space mission, guiding children through stages ranging from launch to docking in orbit. The immersive environment is designed to engage children in space-themed STEAM education. The center showcases twelve distinct learning stations focused on everything from geology to geography and weather to water.

Exhibit Concepts worked closely with Scobee Education Center to ensure that the specially crafted engagements aligned with the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) Standards and followed best practices in early childhood education.

The Micronaut Program and newly constructed Micronaut Center amplifies early childhood education by leveraging children’s curiosity to explore and learn about the world around them. By emphasizing STEAM education, the center aims to make a positive impact on the world and instill a lifelong passion for learning with a sense of responsibility for planet Earth. 

The Takeaway

Exhibit Concepts went beyond the role of designer and fabricator for the John L. Santikos Micronaut Center. They served as an integral and trusted stakeholder in shaping the future of education for the south Texas community. From the initial ideation to its grand opening to today, Exhibit Concepts continues to be a trusted partner to educators at Scobee Education Center and San Antonio College. With a deep understanding of the importance of immersive and engaging experiences, Exhibit Concepts took their responsibilities to heart.

Exhibit Concepts recognizes the significance of creating environments that support and enhance the learning experience. By diligently working to align designs with educational objectives and requirements, Exhibit Concepts delivers educational spaces that captivate and inspire students.

Exhibit Concepts is an invaluable collaborator in experiential education and takes pride in offering expertise and unwavering support to environments that ignite curiosity, promote learning, and make a lasting impact.

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