Irving ISD High School Planetarium undergoes overdue renovation


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Irving ISD recently completed a much anticipated renovation of its planetarium. The facility is one of 14 built at a high school in the state.

The planetarium was first built at Nimitz High School during the 1968 Space Race just before the moon landing.

When its last upgrade over 10 years ago succumbed to old age, the district decided to bring the facility into the 21st century.

Hoping to bring science to life, Irving ISD recently completed a $ 250,000 renovation of its planetarium, which was built the year before a man first landed on the moon.

Much has changed since then, and the school district has decided that its planetarium needs to change as well.

Chris Dazer, director of the scientific discovery education department at Irving ISD, led the renovation.

“By giving them a broader experience and giving them more tools to plan and process, dream and study,” he said.

For some fifth graders, the plan worked.

“I like the changes because you can lay down and look up,” student James Gonzalez said.

“It makes you feel like you’re actually there,” student Cielo Martinez said.

Judge Williams is the director of the planetarium. He conducts three presentations per day to Irving ISD elementary and middle school students who come to the planetarium on a field trip.

“I tell myself every day how lucky these kids are,” he said. “I would have loved to have this in my school.”

Williams’ hope is to help children become passionate about science.

“All the planets are so extreme. Earth is the only place we can all live and be happy,” he said. “It reminds people that we are all we have.”

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Arline J. Mercier