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Framingham State completes McAuliffe Center renovations with new planetarium dome

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  October 16, 2012 03:20 PM

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Framingham State University will celebrate the completion of the newly renovated Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, October 23 at 11 a.m., according to a statement from the school.

“This ceremony will give us an opportunity to thank the many people who helped make this possible,” said Mary Liscombe, director of the McAuliffe Center, in the statement. “It will also give people a chance to tour the facility, including our new planetarium space.”

In addition to members of the Framingham State community, several state and local officials who supported the project are expected to be in attendance.

The highlight of the renovations is a new planetarium dome. A state-of-the-art projector for the new space is still being built and will not be installed until January, but a temporary projector will be in place to give people an idea of what the new dome will look like when lit up.

The new projector will offer higher resolution graphics and greatly expand upon the university’s program offerings. It replaces a nearly 40-year old projector that had limited capabilities, according to the university.

The programming possibilities with the new projector are limitless, according to Bruce Mattson, assistant director of the McAuliffe Center. In addition to exploring faraway planets and star systems, students will have the opportunity to take journeys underneath the ocean or through a human cell.

“The new projector will take us way beyond what we currently have,” Mattson said.

The planetarium primarily serves the thousands of middle school students and teachers who visit the McAuliffe Center each year. But the new projector will provide an opportunity for current Framingham State students to learn how to develop programs that can run on it.

“We’ve already begun reaching out to professors to talk about the possibilities,” Liscombe said. “This is a really exciting opportunity for FSU students to do project-based learning. They will be able to take what they learn and create a program that can run on the projector.”

The McAuliffe Center is located in back of O’Connor Hall. The entrance is off Maynard Road.

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