We can step off into space if we want to using Casper’s most sophisticated time machine and starship. An entire universe of time and space is now ours to explore.
Yet this journey would not have been possible without the support and generosity of a variety of visionaries.
The journey began in 1966 when the Casper Planetarium first opened its doors. As the first of its kind in Wyoming, the Casper Planetarium sported a state of the art Spitz star machine and seating for 71. Gradually images, music and video were added to planetarium programs, and fully automated feature length planetarium programs were offered. Yet through it all, the star machine remained the same.
In 2006, shortly after the celebration of the Planetarium’s 40th anniversary, discussion began for a renovation of the Casper Planetarium. While the structure of the building would remain unchanged, the Spitz star machine would be replaced by a Konica-Minolta Mediaglobe; the world’s first all dome, full color, single projector planetarium system. But where would funding for such a monumental project come from?
Two local agencies stepped up to accept the challenge. These two agencies are BOCES and the Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board.
BOCES, the Board of Cooperative Educational Services, exists to provide educational opportunities to citizens of Natrona County that the Natrona county School District or Casper College could not provide alone. BOCES funds many programs in Natrona County, including ACE, the dual credit program for high school juniors and seniors. The addition of the Mediaglobe allows for greater flexibility in teaching one of the articulated ACE courses, Astronomy 1050 which is offered to students at Kelly Walsh High School. In addition, BOCES assistance with the renovation of the planetarium will have a positive impact on the education of every Natrona County elementary student.
The mission of the Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board’s is “Funding unmet educational and recreational needs of students in Natrona County.” In addition to assisting with the renovation of the planetarium, the Joint Powers Board also funds FRED. The Fabulous Recreational Enrichment Days program provides enrichment to the students of the Natrona County School District. While teachers are engaged in on site professional development children explore the world as it visits them right in their own classroom with presenters from around the community.
The generous contributions of BOCES and the Recreation Joint Powers Board made what you are about to see possible. Members of the Natrona County School district, the faculty and staff of Casper College and the staff of the Casper Planetarium would like to thank them for sharing the vision of the future.
And so let us stargaze, shoulder to shoulder with the past. People of our community, our county and our state; welcome they say, we’re so glad you’re here. We meet here, alongside time, here forever beneath the night sky.