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Planetarium Re-boot to include kids' shows
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Those who attend one of the “Planetarium Reboot” programs that start Thursday at Barton Community College will also get a look at the new entrance to the Science & Math Building. That $50,000 project included adding new doors that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and remodeling the vestibule. The Planetarium is located in Room 101 of the Science Building, which is on the northeast corner of the campus.
The Planetarium Re-boot, a series of events Thursday, Friday and Sunday, starts with an open house from 9:30 a.m. to noon. There will be refreshments, and different videos or star shows will start every 30 minutes. The open house will resume this afternoon from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Astronomy instructor Tim Folkerts notes that some of the Planetarium Re-boot events were created with Barton’s Child Development Center in mind.
“The idea was to give the children there a fun activity and to show that the planetarium has options for all sorts of age groups,” he said. “The children will walk across campus and then we will do a little show for them – part entertainment and part education.”
Folkerts said he expects five to 10 children from the Child Development Center for each show, with mostly preschoolers in the morning, and mostly kids in K-5 in the afternoon. “Others are welcome to come — and to bring their own children as well.”
Dean of Academics Dr. Richard Abel said the original planetarium equipment, which is more than 40 years old, has been replaced with a high-definition digital projector. Last summer college trustees approved $50,000 for upgrades.
“Dr. Folkerts was very ardent in locating new equipment that would be most effective and affordable,” Abel said. “Our initial searches led us to units that were in the $150,000 category. We eventually found the equipment that we now have installed at $35,000 — which included the company sending us a representative to help install, program and learn how to present. And we are delighted with the capabilities of this new equipment.”
The additional $15,000 will be used to remodel the planetarium space with paint and new walls. That work is scheduled to start in June.
“We are one of only four colleges in Kansas with a planetarium and ours is one of the biggest with 75 seats,” Abel said. “This new addition will allow us to present brand new digital, state-of-the-art programs. The old equipment was antiquated and there were no new programs being designed for that equipment. As you can imagine, we are all delighted with our new equipment and the vast opportunities it will allow us: new school programs, public programs,  star gazing, even showing contemporary films. We think the public will be very proud of the new and improved planetarium and we expect a lot of community support and participation.”

Here is the complete schedule of events:
Thursday, April 24
9:30 a.m. to noon Open House: Refreshments & different videos or star shows starting every 30 minutes.
Noon to 12:45 p.m. Barton Chat/Mid-day Retreat: Relaxing music & video.
1:30 to 2 p.m. Movie: “The Body Code” for Anatomy & Physiology class (public welcome).
4:30 to 6 p.m. Open House: Different videos or star shows starting every 30 minutes.

Friday, April 25
10:30 to 11 a.m. Younger Kids Open House: (Child Development Center, mostly Pre-K)
4-5 p.m. Older Kids Open House: (Child Development Center, mostly K-5)
6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Open House: Different videos or star shows starting every 30 minutes.

Sunday, April 27
10:30-11 a.m. Younger Kids Open House: (Child Development Center, mostly Pre-K)