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Elevate Parks & Recreation (Tree & Green

Saban Center

Updated Feb 23, 2024

Latest News


Saban Center will unite Ignite (formerly Children's Hands-On Museum or CHOM), the Tuscaloosa Children's Theatre, and the State of Alabama in a unique public-private partnership. The project was catalyzed by generous donations from Nick and Terry Saban and their non-profit organization, Nick's Kids Foundation.  Featuring STEM and arts programs, interactive learning, and a state STEM hub for local and regional school districts, Saban Center will be an anchor downtown near the riverfront.  

Work began with the completion of a master plan for the facility. Each participating organization determined requirements and needs for their new space. Research was conducted to establish best practices from the top educational centers in the nation. Ongoing work includes architectural design efforts, a capital fundraising campaign, and business/operational analysis and planning.  Future phases will include construction, exhibit fabrication, and installation of furnishings before the building opens to the public.

Parker-Haun Park is intended to serve as an outdoor extension of the Saban Center by allowing additional programming opportunities. A new pedestrian bridge linking the future Saban Center and Parker-Haun Park was complete in December 2023.

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Goals and Impact
  • Deliver immersive, educational STEM and arts experiences

  • Unite beloved local organizations to provide unique opportunities for children and families

  • Provide professional development to Alabama educators in STEM curriculum


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Key Milestones & Events
  • October 2019: property purchased

  • August 2021: Nick's Kids Avenue Street Renaming Jubilee (more info here)

  • October 2021: Audrey Buck named Director of Saban Center (more info here)

  • April 2022: contracted for program management and owner's representative services with Volkert and The Projects Group

  • May 2022: master plan unveiled (more info here)

  • November 2022: contracted for architectural and related design services with Davis Architects and Steinberg Hart

  • June 2023: State of Alabama partners with Saban Center to create innovative STEM hub for local and regional school districts

Up Next:
  • Complete design documents

  • Complete public phase of the capital fundraising campaign

Project Materials
Financial Information

Cost Summary







Pending Planning/Design

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Spent: The amount paid on this project to-date.​

Approved: The amount that has been approved by the City Council to be spent for a specific contract or purpose on this project. In city accounting terms, this is spent + encumbered.

Budget: The total amount of money that the City expects to be spent to complete this project. This amount is only finalized once sufficient planning on the project has been completed.

Cost Details
Overall Funding

Funding Summary


Elevate Tuscaloosa Fund:


Other City Funds:


External Funding:


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Elevate Tuscaloosa Fund: City funds dedicated to Elevate Tuscaloosa which are allocated to this project.

Other City Funds: City funds from non-Elevate Tuscaloosa sources allocated to this project.

External Funding: Amounts from sources outside of the city, such as grants, or donations from citizens or private companies.

Funding Details
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