A new planetarium for Orange Coast College has been in the works for a number of years. With the help of donations, the school is close to having the new planetarium open for future students of the college. With the help of donations from people like Mary McChesney, who worked for the college prior to retiring in 1983. Mary and her partner, Adelyn “Lyn” Bonin were both professors for the school prior to leaving to retire in 1983. Lyn passed away in January and the donation Mary made to the school was done in the name of her partner.
Mary believes in the education of youngsters and knows how important it is to earn your degree. For this reason, she believes in donating to schools to expand their backgrounds. For Orange Coast, they had a planetarium which was in need of updating and therefore the donations saved to help update the planetarium led to the destruction of the old planetarium and the breaking of ground for the new.
The planetarium broke ground in 2016 while the old one was being taken down. The old planetarium was able to seat 35 people at once while the new planetarium will allow for 129 people to sit at once. The old building was first opened back in the 50’s and even though they broke ground in 2016, the new building is set to be opened in the fall of 2018. Technology is always moving forward and for this reason, the school knew that it would need to also update the planetarium and simply updating the old building was not an option.
The college is not the only one who will benefit from the new planetarium. The community will also benefit from it. The new building will be able to be used for all age groups ranging from kindergarten up until college. Not only will the planetarium be open to all school age children but the community will be allowed to use it as well.
The cost for the new planetarium is slated at 20 million dollars while the school has received numerous donations from people like Mary, the donations they collected were close to 3 million including the million that Mary donated. The vast majority of the remaining funds were acquired when the school obtained the 2012 bond measure.
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