As the ambitious, over $80 million Saban Center draws closer to groundbreaking, construction and eventually opening, officials announced a new partnership there Thursday that will bring another of Tuscaloosa's crown jewels under the same roof.

In a press release, spokespeople for both organizations announced that the Saban Center will partner with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to enhance water literacy and promote STEM education across Alabama.

NOAA already operates its National Water Center on Hackberry Lane in Tuscaloosa, and adding the unique lessons being learned and taught there to the list of offerings at the Saban Center just made good sense for both partners.

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In a press release, spokespeople said the Saban Center will be a place where children can learn through hands-on experience, with a particular focus on STEM learning and the arts. This new partnership with NOAA and the Water Center will combine the efforts of both organizations and "aim to inspire a new generation of scientists, engineers and environmental stewards."

“The National Water Center is excited to partner with the Saban Center," said Edward Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center. "Not only will this help us advance NOAA’s goals of providing greater environmental stewardship and water literacy, but it will present a unique opportunity to elevate STEM and the arts in our community.”

Specifically, NOAA and the Saban Center will work together to teach students K-12 about the water cycle - how rain and other precipitation evaporate into vapor only to condense again and fall back to earth.

The exhibits will also feature information about careers in water resource sciences and engineering and how to pursue them.

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“We are proud to call Tuscaloosa home and eager to bolster the community through opportunities like the Saban Center,” Clark said.

“It is an honor to join forces with NOAA and align our mission with their vast expertise and resources," said Audrey Buck, director of the Saban Center. "Their support and dedication to sustainability are vital in shaping the future of STEM education in West Alabama and will significantly influence our approach to integrating the arts and science.”

To learn more about the Saban Center, visit www.sabancenter.org.

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