NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — A ribbon cutting was held outside the Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College to celebrate the remodeling of its Command Center.

The renovations took place over the summer and included the latest in technology and equipment. The center specializes in STEM education and increasing students’ confidence in their STEM abilities.

The students that typically utilize the space are from elementary school and junior high, with interactive education that shows students what it’s like to be an astronaut.

Julia Ossler, Director of the Challenger Learning Center, said the experience leads to students having a greater appreciation for STEM education.

“When they come here, they get an opportunity to apply it, to succeed in something that is so unique, to be able to say ‘I trained like an astronaut today,’ it just builds that endurance and love of STEM for them at an early age so they continue with that feeling going forward,” Ossler said.

The mission of the Challenger Learning Center is to engage secondary school students and teachers in dynamic, hands-on exploration and discovery opportunities.