City of Tuscaloosa Opens Gateway Innovation and Discovery Center in Alberta
June 7, 2016
The City of Tuscaloosa vowed to build back stronger, safer and smarter following the tornado of April 27, 2011. The Gateway: Alberta’s Innovation & Discovery Center is a direct result of that resolve.
Scheduled to open to the public June 29, The Gateway is a technology resource designed to serve the surrounding community as well as visitors to the area. With high tech meeting rooms, a children’s discovery area and a captivating interactive touch screen wall, The Gateway is designed to curate information and present it in the most compelling, accessible ways possible. It also places the digital resources of the Tuscaloosa Public Library into the hands of its members.
“The goal is access to broadband technology,” said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox. “We want to empower our community by making information as accessible and portable as possible. We want our students to be able to thrive in a competitive landscape, and tech literacy is a prerequisite for that, from pre-k through college. We want our workforce to gain marketable skills. We want seniors and under-served citizens to have access to technology that helps them remain connected and informed. The Gateway is purpose built to strengthen our technological capabilities and our economy.”
A project of the City of Tuscaloosa, The Gateway facility was funded through federal appropriations from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief program.
“The Gateway is only the beginning of the revitalization planned for this area,” added Kip Tyner, Tuscaloosa City Councilor for District 5. “We are bolstering a new vitality for Alberta, with fresh reasons for residents, visitors and businesses to support the area.”
Located at 2614 University Blvd. East, The Gateway will also feature a coffee shop, operated by Heritage House Coffee & Tea.
The Discovery Wall
The Gateway’s focal point is a 16 foot wide by 5 foot tall interactive touchscreen wall programmed with information showcasing Tuscaloosa people, places and history. With the touch of a hand, visitors can call up videos and photos with facts about the best of Tuscaloosa. This element doubles as an interactive presentation tool for use during events or seminars.
Children’s Exploration Area
The Children’s Exploration Area was designed as a fun environment to introduce science, math, art and technology concepts in ways that capture the minds of children. This room has its own 4 foot by 3 foot touchscreen wall, on which children may paint their own version of local landmarks, comic book characters and other iconic images.
These touch-top monitors provide access to all of the Tuscaloosa Public Library’s digital resources. In addition to the complete library of digital books and publications available for download, the kiosks contain other videos, games, books and resources for children. The kiosks are open to anyone with a Tuscaloosa Public Library card.
3-D printers manufacture three-dimensional products from a digital design. Through an additive printing process, successive layers are formed together to create the product. The Gateway’s 3-D printer is available for use by reservation.
Fifty iPads, 50 tablets and 75 laptops will be available for any Gateway member to check out and use on site. The devices may be used to complete homework, conduct research and play educational games.
This space will host corporate meetings, training sessions, lectures and seminars on limitless topics. Four large screens around the space ensure that attendees can observe video or digital presentation elements regardless of the configuration of tables and chairs.
Work lounges will serve freelance workers and entrepreneurs who need a workspace. They can plug in, use the WiFi and benefit from having a professional environment in which to complete work and collaborate with others.
The Gateway meeting rooms are available for corporate meetings, seminars and other private events. To reserve space, call 205-248-4949.
“The City of Tuscaloosa has established itself as visionary and has proven a commitment to bringing excellence to the region,” said Tim Lewis, president of TALA Professional Services, which led the technology design and user experience creation. “The Gateway stands as a beacon to the community, offering a welcoming place to explore, discover and collaborate.”
The Gateway project has been overseen by the City of Tuscaloosa. The building was designed by Ward Scott Architecture of Tuscaloosa. R.H. Smith & Associates P.C. of Tuscaloosa served as the mechanical and electrical engineers on the project. Construction was coordinated by Harrison Construction of Tuscaloosa. The Gateway’s technology was designed and implemented by Local Projects, Technical Innovation, Zenith Systems, Cayenne Creative, SkyPark Agency and Obsidian Agency. The Gateway design and construction has been coordinated by TALAPro. The facility is operated jointly by TALAPro and the Tuscaloosa Public Library.
2614 University Blvd East
Tuscaloosa, AL 35404