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ISSUE 116 VOL 4 PUBLISHED 10/4/2002

New plans for planetarium

By Anonymous
Contributing Writer

Friday, October 4, 2002

A few weeks ago in Minneapolis, crowds gathered in anticipation outside of the Minneapolis Planetarium. After 41 years of educating both children and adults, the planetarium has closed its doors. Opened in 1961 as part of the old Central Library, the dome has been a popular place for students from all over Minnesota to visit. The planetarium presented its last show on Sept. 15. The planetarium featured many types of shows including informative presentations on seasonal sky changes, entertaining shows set to music, and shows for holidays such as Christmas and Valentines Day. Construction on the library has been scheduled to take place as soon as state funding is passed. In its final days, the planetarium was overwhelmed with the number of visitors who came to be there for the final showings. All four shows were packed with lines starting an hour and a half before time. The 180 available seats were filled to capacity at all shows. Surprisingly, more people attended the following Sunday which usually rates as the least busiest day of the week. Attendance was so high, in fact, that Director Robert Bonadurer added a fifth show. Treasures and memorabilia from the planetarium were made available to staff and friends who gathered for a private party and silent auction. Seats, models of the sun and planets, and even modeled sections of the Minneapolis skyline were all auctioned off. As part of what seems to be a nationwide planetarium building reform, the Minneapolis Planetarium plans to rebuild, provided it receives the financial support of the state. The new Planetarium and Space Discovery Center will be among the countrys most advanced science education facilities. It will be one of the top facilities in the country, comparable to the New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles facilities. Although the construction dates for the new planetarium have not been determined, officials remain optimistic. Plans were made to construct the new planetarium along with the new library on a single landmass. The city was going to receive $9.5 million in state aid for this project until May, when Gov. Jesse Ventura vetoed the measure. According to the updated planetarium report, officials will continue to work with state and local community leaders to make sure the project is legit. The Library Board and City Council have donated $2 million to leave the possibility of the planetarium open. The plans for the library building include a space for a planetarium, but it will not be built without state aid. Plans for this project have been in place since the year 2000. The saga continues and people wait in anticipation for promising news of the new building. The new planetarium would include more seating, an advanced video system and an observatory showing images from world-class telescopes and satellites. As the building has been the most important astronomical educator in the state, the city is planning on asking the legislature to reconsider their plans for state funding. Planetariums are located in museums and libraries across the country. One of the most famous planetariums is located in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

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