Trustees approve $4.6 million planetarium, funded by private gifts
Topics: College of Sciences and Humanities, Administrative
July 20, 2012
The Ball State University Board of Trustees has approved construction of a state-of-the-art planetarium that will be the largest in Indiana.
The proposed new Ball State University Planetarium, with a 52-foot diameter dome, will be one of the top 10 university planetariums in the nation with its size and cutting-edge projection technology. It will consist of a 6,500-square-foot addition to Cooper Science Complex and will be visible from Riverside Avenue.
Construction of the $4.6 million facility will be funded through private gifts. Indianapolis businessman and 1971 Ball State alumnus Charlie Brown has invested in the project with a $2.2 million lead gift. The new planetarium should open in 2014.
"This is an exciting addition to Ball State's vibrant campus and will be a tremendous asset to students as well as the community and region," said Jo Ann M. Gora, president of the university. "We are indebted to Charlie for his generosity and enthusiasm for this new facility. It is certain to prove to be another distinguishing feature of a campus known for innovation and immersive learning."
The existing planetarium was built in 1967 and accommodated the then-small student body enrolled in astronomy and limited community needs. The new planetarium will seat 140, nearly double that of the current planetarium, and will be accessible directly from campus and public parking areas. The addition will create an enhanced entry aesthetic from the west on Riverside Avenue, while maintaining Cooper's architectural character.
"My goal is to get the biggest and best planetarium we can at Ball State to serve this area of the country. My hope is the community — especially youth — as well as the university students will have an incredible resource here," Brown said.
In other business, the board approved detailed general fund and auxiliary budgets for each academic department and budget unit as well as the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities in accordance with the general fund budget plan that trustees approved on May 4. The board also discussed the university's budget request to the state for the 2013-15 biennium. The request is due to the state later this fall.
Additionally, the board voted to remove one asset manager and add another to the list of approved investments for the Ball State University Voluntary Employees' Benefit Association Trust (VEBA) and the Life Insurance Continuance Fund (LICF).
Provost Terry King closed the meeting by updating the trustees on the status of the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process.
By Joan Todd, Executive Director of Public Relations