Edmonton’s TELUS World of Science could be in for an upgrade, with a proposed multi-million dollar expansion in the works. Part of the money needed is already in place, and officials are working to find the rest.

The latest proposed expansion for the TELUS World of Science in Edmonton is called the Aurora Project, and is slated to include an expanded front entry and gift shop, upgrades to the cafeteria and planetarium, and a specialized 10,000 square foot exhibit space called the Arctic Gallery, focused on northern Canada.

The original structure will stay in place, and the plan won’t include digging up the nearby park.

“We’re actually going to return more space to the park than what is there today,” Architect Donna Clare said.

Clare said the new construction would contribute to the natural environment surrounding the building.

“How we think about water is really important, so with this expansion, we’re trying to collect the roof water, collect water off the hard parts of the site, not put it in the sewer system but collect it, use it as a source of life,” Clare said.

TELUS World of Science President and CEO Alan Nursall said he hopes putting a focus on the Arctic, and green technology, along with another exhibit about Edmonton, will bring in more visitors.

“We want to be top of mind, the first destination for people,” Nursall said.

Nursall said 600,000 people a year visit the facility, and its expected construction will start in the next few months. If everything goes to plan, the gallery highlighting science in the arctic could be open by 2018.

“And that’s the science engineering, technology, economics, adaptation, culture, of the north, so we can be a place where there’s a dialogue that connects southern Canada, we think we’re northerly but we’re not,” Nursall said.

The City of Edmonton has earmarked $12 million for the project, but the same amount of money will also be needed from the province and Ottawa. Private donations are also being sought.

With files from David Ewasuk