Buffalo Company Part of Space Center Expansion

January 12, 2012 Updated Jan 12, 2012 at 8:32 PM EDT

January 12, 2012 Updated Jan 12, 2012 at 8:32 PM EDT

(Buffalo, NY) Since 1995, the Delaware North Companies have been operating the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida.

Next week, the Buffalo-based company will break ground on a new $100 million dollar project to build a permanent home for the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Atlantis was America's last shuttle to fly. It completed its mission to the International Space Station in July 2011.

It will take 18 months to construct the new Space Shuttle exhibit. It is scheduled to open in 2013.

During the construction period, Atlantis will be prepared for its new life as a museum piece.

Most importantly, dangerous fuels used for space flight have to be removed and residue cleaned from the orbiter.

When completed, the display will include an interactive presentation called the "Space Shuttle Experience," and visitors will be able to view Atlantis with its payload doors open and mounted inside a new building.

The project is part of a $350 million dollar investment by Delaware North to makeover the popular tourist destination.