JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Excitement is building around the renovations at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium as fund raising continues.
The facility closed in 2018 due to roof damage, giving officials the opportunity to make even more improvements.
Work is halted temporarily due to supply delays, but the completion is expected to offer students and visitors a look into the future.
“This used to be the outside of the planetarium walls as you would enter the auditorium,” said Alexis McGriggs.
The Art Center manager pointed out the completion of the demolition of the interior of the planetarium. The 43-year-old science and technology facility will have new technology incorporating space exploration with NASA missions to the moon and mars.
“It’s also a right of passage for all of the students of the state,” said Mike Williams.
The Russell C. Davis Planetarium director visited as a child and says students will have a far greater learning experience.
“We’re trying to illuminate the path to STEM education and STEM technology so that we can kind of prepare our kids for these next generation jobs out here,” said Williams. “So we’re gonna do that in the most fun way possible and in a way they’ve never seen before”.
The cost of the project pre-pandemic was $12 million. The price tag now has risen to about $16 million.
Recent donations from the Junior League of Jackson and Community Foundation for Mississippi are helping. The atrium will be enclosed with redesigned office and interior space.
Groundbreaking is expected in the fall.
“The new atrium will be this really grand three story building which will connect the two physical structures right now,” added Williams.
The state is also providing another $2 million for the project. Completion is expected in early 2024.
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