With the cutting of a ribbon Saturday morning, it was finally time for the public to experience first hand what nearly two-years of work, and $27 million in upgrades created at Downtown Roanoke's Center in the Square.
"There are so many new things and exciting things that I think the public will be amazed," said Center in the Square President Jim Sears.
That mission appeared to be accomplished, judging by the expressions and reactions of people who walked into the science and cultural mecca on Saturday.
"I like the big tanks downstairs, I thought that was really cool," noted Donia Lawton. "And I like the open space and how wide it is. And that you can see everything."
"I like it a lot more than the old one... Because it has so many extra features," said members of the Beasley family.
Those features include:
Center in the Square staff say those are just the beginning of the transformation. Future changes will be based on educational and entertainment needs.
A new campaign will be launched soon to raise $600,000 to upgrade the planetarium, which is still closed.
Another possibility being debated, opening a restaurant on the roof, or leaving the space as a banquet hall for renting.
For the time being, Center in the Square leaders, and Saturday's crowds say they're pretty pleased with what they have.