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How we got started . . .

The Dr. James H. Porter Center for Science and Mathematics was started in 1991 as a project of the Lake County Superintendentsí Association, under the direction of Lake County Superintendent Dr. James H. Porter. Dr. Porter pulled together a team of community leaders who created the vision and the start-up of the Porter Center. The Center was originally named the Lakeland Area Center for Science and Math and, at its onset, provided hands-on science experiences for all Lake and Geauga third grade students. In 1992, a fourth grade program was added and by the end of 1994, all fifth graders were participating in Science Center activities at The Holden Arboretum and Lake Metro Parks FarmPark. In 1997, upon Dr. Porterís retirement, the Centerís name was changed to reflect his dedication to local science education. The Porter Center was housed at the Auburn Career Center until the 2008-2009 school year. The space was provided as a generous in-kind contribution from Auburn Career Center.

In 1997 Barry Morrison became the superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center and continued the development of the Porter Center. Under his supervision, the Porter Center once again pulled together local stakeholders to create a strategic plan for the Porter Center. During that time, talks blossomed regarding a new partnership with the Porter Center and Lake Metroparks. When Barry Morrison retired 2005, Dr Linda Williams became the new superintendent of the Lake County Educational Service Center. During this time, the partnership agreement was formally put in place. Lake Metroparks began to meet with Lake County Educational Service Center, the Porter Center, and other key professionals to begin designing the building and displays. Construction was completed the summer of 2008. The Porter Program officially moved into their new home at the Lake Metroparks Environmental Learning Center in August 2008.

With the partnership, the Porter Center agreed to change its name from the Porter Center to the Porter Program. Lake Metroparks continued the precedent of providing in-kind contribution of facility space. However, the operations budget remains the responsibility of the Porter Program. In addition, the Porter Program covers the cost of a percentage of the utilities and security expenses.

Since August 2008, the Porter Program for Science & Mathematic is housed in 12,000 square feet of high-tech educational classrooms and laboratory space including a bio-tech laboratory, an observatory, a greenhouse and large multipurpose room with custom educational exhibits in the Lake Metroparks Environmental Learning Center. The pre-school through grade 16 learning experiences are enhanced by 250 acres of beautiful and ecologically iverse open space rich in the cultural and natural history of the Big Creek Corridor. Programs have expanded to include elementary, middle and high school students. The Porter Program continues to shine as a national model for Science & Mathematics educational programming offering teachers and students large-scale, hands-on, discovery-based learning initiatives.