The Oak Leaf

Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

Santa+Rosa+Junior+College%27s+planetarium+is+closed+for+the+Fall+2018+semseter%2C+with+plans+to+assess+for+a+possible+renovation.
Santa Rosa Junior College's planetarium is closed for the Fall 2018 semseter, with plans to assess for a possible renovation.

Santa Rosa Junior College's planetarium is closed for the Fall 2018 semseter, with plans to assess for a possible renovation.

Abraham Fuentes

Abraham Fuentes

Santa Rosa Junior College's planetarium is closed for the Fall 2018 semseter, with plans to assess for a possible renovation.

Lauren A. Spates and Eileen Rodriguez

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Santa Rosa Junior College’s Lark Hall Planetarium will undergo a feasibility and infrastructure assessment this semester to study upgrade possibilities for the facility.

The planetarium shuttered in June and is slated to remain closed through spring 2019 while the assessment is completed, according to an SRJC official.

Local firm Quattrocchi Kwok Architects was awarded the contract at the Sept. 11 Board of Trustees meeting. The $110,000 contract will be funded through 2014’s Ballot Measure H, which secured funds to upgrade, maintain and improve SRJC facilities, classrooms and technology. QKA has provided design services for more than $1 billion in master planning, new construction, modernization and historical restoration projects across the state.

The planetarium’s 38-year-old facility has not been significantly renovated since its construction. According to Dr. Victor Tam, dean of SRJC’s science, technology, engineering, math and applied technology program, the facility utilizes a classic but now outdated form of technology to project the night sky. The planetarium’s existing opto-mechanical projector requires a light source to shine through metal plates to depict the constellations on the planetarium dome.

While this traditional projector “provides great resolution for the star field,” Dr. Tam said, it is not without challenges.

Former SRJC Planetarium employee Erin Imbach is clear the facility could benefit from investment. “Our planetarium is old. I mean, it really is. We still are running on slide projectors,” she said. “When I was trying to get technical help as an [administrative assistant] I would actually get laughed at. And it’s like, no, seriously, this is what we have to work with.”

QKA’s assessment will provide SRJC with recommendations for modernization, not only for the projection system, but also for the infrastructure that would support it. The current opto-mechanical unit requires significant electrical systems to operate, but a new digital projector, such as the type utilized at San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences, could call for an entirely new support apparatus.

According to Tam, the hall is structurally sound, but will likely need significant renovation to support the potential digital system.

“Lark Hall is a pretty old building,” Tam said. “Based off of what the architectural assessment is, [QKA will] let us know what do we have, what’s possible, what would be the potential cost for doing that renovation if that’s the direction we want to move.”

Students should not experience any disruption during the assessment period. QKA’s evaluation should conclude at the end of the fall semester with recommendations regarding a digital or hybrid projection system and any electrical, structural and power source improvements necessary for full operation.

Dr. Tam estimates roughly 4000 school children and 1500 adult community members attend planetarium shows for field trips or weekend entertainment. “It was really difficult to temporarily close for the fall semester,” he said. “The community really loves the planetarium.”

Imbach agrees and sees the facility’s value reaching far beyond simple star shows. She feels strongly that the planetarium is critical in connecting Santa Rosa citizens to the sciences. “The world of science should not just be for scientists. Astronomy isn’t just for astronomers. It’s for everyone,” she said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the Contributors
Lauren A. Spates, Features Editor

Lauren A. Spates is the Features editor for the Oak Leaf. After ten years outside the news business, Lauren hopes to refresh her skills and rebuild her...

Eileen Rodriguez, Staff Writer

Eileen Rodriguez is a 20-year-old Santa Rosa Junior College student majoring in Journalism. She enjoys playing video games, watching Marvel movies and...

Abraham Fuentes, Staff Writer

A friendly writer or photographer that does his best to help the Oak Leaf. 

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




*

Navigate Left
  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Camp Fire smoke affects students’ health, education

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    SRJC announces plan for on-campus housing

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Butte County Fire causes SRJC closure

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Remembering the fires one year later

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Introducing the ‘Clery Report’

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Artificial Intelligence: the future is just around the corner

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    On tap: 1876

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    SRJC mourns loss of inspirng speech instructor

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    A - Home Page Slideshow

    Late incident alert raises concerns of campus security

  • Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway

    Breaking News

    Robo de punta de pistola en campus

Navigate Right

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






The news of Santa Rosa Junior College.
Lark Hall Planetarium feasibility assessment underway