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Renovations complete: Southern Cayuga Central seeing the stars thanks to progress

The Southern Cayuga Central School District is once again seeing stars. A planetarium that has called the campus home for more than 50 years is once again up and running after a five year absence.

Lack of money along with wear and tear caused the closure. After donations and board approval, the planetarium opened Friday.

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Here’s a message from the district:

Over the past seven years, countless parents and community members have shared stories of their long ago visits to the SCCS planetarium.  Now is the time to rekindle those memories and to inspire the next generation of students to explore the skies above. 

The Southern Cayuga School District is pleased to announce that renovations are complete and a new state-of-the-art digital projection system is operational.   Over the summer, contractors upgraded all major mechanical systems, electrical, lighting, heating, and ventilation, and created a new robotics lab for our high school students.  The new digital projection system will provide full-dome shows, real-time visualizations, and flight simulations through space.  The technology has come a long way since the original Spitz projector was installed over 50 years ago.   SkySkan Projection Systems of Nashua, New Hampshire, will provide training in late October for a core group of staff members to operate the new projection system.  I promise you’ll enjoy the show. 

The Southern Cayuga Central School District will hold a planetarium open house on November 1 from 5-7 pm.  All are welcome to attend and check out the new projection system, visit the robotics lab, and take a virtual reality field trip.  Beginning in November, we will once again host monthly star shows for the families of Southern Cayuga and field trips for students from across Cayuga County. 

Special thanks go to our community for their approval of the project and to Bob Parker & Tony Cavallaro of J&B Installations for donating and overseeing the complete roof replacement.   Special thanks go to Senator Pam Helming and Assemblyman Gary Finch for securing a $50,000 state grant to purchase the new projection system.  Special thanks to the tremendous cleaning efforts of our maintenance crew.  Special thanks go to King + King Architects and Watchdog Building Partners for overseeing construction and the Friends of the Planetarium for their continued advocacy.  Most importantly, special thanks go to the SCCS Board of Education for their leadership in bringing this project to fruition. 

Patrick Jensen
SCCS Superintendent