After 13 years of planning, 10 years of fundraising and nearly two years of construction, a museum commemorating one of the inventors of Gatorade is set to open in Gainesville this spring.
The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention, a $10 million building on the corner of Depot Avenue and South Main Street, will honor nephrologist and former UF professor Dr. Robert Cade, the man who led a team of researchers to create Gatorade more than 50 years ago.
Cade’s youngest of six children, the museum’s CEO and board president Phoebe Miles, began planning for the two-story, 26,000-square-foot museum, located at 811 S. Main St., in 2004.
Fundraising for the building started in 2007, the same year Cade passed away. Over the course of nine years, funding was provided by individual donors, Alachua County and investors part of the New Markets Tax Credit Program. By May 2016, construction of the museum began and Miles’ decadelong vision was put into action.
Cade, UF’s first kidney specialist, and three other researchers invented the popular sports drink in 1965 as a way to give the UF football team extra energy during practice and games, according to Alligator archives. Cade’s solution to Gators football players’ dehydration problem was a formula of water, sodium, potassium and glucose, which ultimately became Gatorade.
“I had the great fortune to grow up with an inventor as a father,” Miles said. “Wouldn’t it be great for every child in this town to have that access through a series of programs, lab classes and events that are taught through and by inventors and their inventions?”
The museum’s exhibits, programs and classes will cater toward the STEAM curriculum, which consists of science, technology, engineering, art and math, said Museum Operations Director Leslie Ladendorf. The museum will offer hands-on experiences to complement the traditional visual experience and will emphasize “doing along with seeing,” Ladendorf said.
The new building will be open to the public in spring 2018. The Cade Museum currently holds camps and classes that are held at the Cade Fab Lab and Cade Creativity Lab office, located at 904 S. Main St, across from the new building’s construction.
The tourism brought on by the new museum is aimed to augment the economic development of the city in addition to establishing national recognition, Ladendorf said, adding that Gainesville is ranked No. 4 nationally for largest income disparity in a city.
Ladendorf said the building will have a positive impact in the community by highlighting the innovation culture of Gainesville to the world.
“We’re investing in the youth of Gainesville, including those in low socio-economic brackets,” she said.