New Downtown ballpark could shutter Insights Museum for years

POSTED: 06:29 PM MDT Aug 01, 2012    UPDATED: 09:28 PM MDT Aug 03, 2012 
EL PASO, Texas -

The proposed baseball stadium in Downtown El Paso may put an El Paso museum in boxes.

The construction of the baseball diamond would mean demolishing not only El Paso City Hall, but also the Insights Science Museum next to it.

The museum board said the City, which leases them the building, has suggested the exhibits be stored to three to five years pending the construction of a new Children's Museum that would incorporate Insights.

However, the construction of that Children's Museum depends on El Paso voters passing a City proposed nearly $500 million bond initiative in November.

"I think that's our biggest thing, the uncertainly of the situation. If the bond doesn't pass and we don't find an alternate space, we have essentially traded baseball for science and I don't think necessarily that's acceptable," said Aaron Velasco, President of the Insights Board.

Currently, Insights pays the city $10 a year to lease the building. Velasco said paying an actual market price lease may put them out of business.

Lynx Exhibits has offered up space for Insights.

Velasco said they're looking at all options for a temporary or permanent home, but there may be infrastructure, cost and size limitations at Lynx, he said.

He added that Insights' mission is to spark interest in math and science in children and that El Paso has untapped potential to create leaders in these industries.

"We could be a leader in developing Hispanic scientists, Hispanic engineers, Hispanic mathematicians, it's incredibly important that we keep that in mind."

Velasco and other board members said they are not opposed to downtown redevelopment or the baseball stadium but said storing the exhibits is not the solution.