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Shedd Aquarium announces $500 million project over 8 years

January 10, 2022 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — The Shedd Aquarium is investing $500 million over eight years leading to its 100th anniversary in 2030 to update galleries, improve animal habitats and make other improvements.

The third-largest aquarium in the world with more than 1,100 species drawing nearly 1.9 million visitors each year said the project will transform its mission to better serve Chicago school students and increase its commitment to respond to wildlife crises across the world through research and science.

The first phase of what it’s calling its Centennial Commitment will begin this year and is expected to finish in 2026. A second phase will begin shortly later. The aquarium will remain open throughout the project.

Planning began five years ago, said Bridget Coughlin, the aquarium’s president and CEO.

“The Centennial Commitment is our pledge to do the work that is necessary now, to ensure the next 100 years includes a world thriving with aquatic life that is sustained by people who love, understand and protect it,” Coughlin said.

Much of the project’s budget will be spent on the first phase, which will update the interior of the building and revamp public spaces and general amenities.

Renovation of galleries and educational facilities will cost about half of the $500 million and take eight years to complete.