Work starts on £4.5m revamp of Belfast's W5 centre
A Sheffield company has started work on the £4.5m transformation of children's education centre W5 in Belfast.
The work is the biggest investment in Titanic Quarter's W5 since it opened 18 years ago and will create seven new themed zones.
W5 will remain open during the project, which is due for completion by June next year.
Aivaf won a £1.85m contract for work with attraction design company Mather & Co.
The aim is to position W5 as a world-class science and discovery attraction that appeals to a wide audience.
Aivaf has worked on a range of other tourist, heritage and sporting attractions including the British Leyland Museum and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club.
W5 head Lydia McClelland said: "This major project will create a series of new and exciting interactive exhibitions that will appeal to all ages.
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"We look forward to working with Aivaf and their team to deliver significant change at W5 and to widen public engagement in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), enhancing knowledge and understanding among the next generation of budding scientists through interactive learning."
Bruce Davies, managing director of Aivaf, said: "We are proud to have been awarded the contract to work on one of Northern Ireland's leading visitor attractions. We will be using our breadth of skills in designing and developing hands-on interactive exhibits to help create an amazing experience at W5."
W5 opened in 2001 and has attracted more than 3.5 million visitors over the last 18 years.
It has 250-plus interactive exhibits spread over five levels, including the MED-Lab exhibition on the human body, funded by the Inspiring Science Fund and supported by pharmaceutical company Almac.
W5 attracted 270,000 visitors from April 2017 to April 2018.