Aug 25, 2022 - Things to Do

Blank IMAX will not return to Des Moines

exterior of building

The outside of the Science Center of Iowa. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

The Science Center of Iowa will not reopen the Blank IMAX Dome Theater after water damage caused severe damage to the theater and film projector in 2018, Curt Simmons, president of SCI, told Axios Wednesday.

Yes, but: That 6,000 square-foot space isn't going to sit empty — SCI is undergoing a $20 million capital campaign to redevelop the space.

  • Details are sparse at the moment, but expect a major renovation that could include adding multiple levels and "substantially increase" public programming space, Simmons says.

Flashback: Heavy rains in June 2018 flooded hundreds of homes and businesses in central Iowa, including the IMAX theater, which was the first of its kind in Des Moines when it opened in 2005.

  • Flooding damaged the roof, specialized movie screen, projector, audio system and film collection.

But SCI struggled to get reimbursed for the damage from their insurance company, filing a lawsuit in 2020 that accused Philadelphia Insurance Company of underpaying claims for damaged equipment.

  • It ended in a settlement this year for an undisclosed amount of money.

What's next: SCI is still fundraising for its capital campaign and plan on sharing more detailed plans with the public soon.


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