Professor Lawrence Krauss, a theoretical physicist, cosmologist and best-selling author, is fond of reminding his students and readers of their place in the universe:
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust.”
Central Kansas, which can be a pretty good spot for stargazers, is fortunate to have a planetarium at Barton Community College. It’s also fortunate that the BCC Board of Trustees has included a renovation of the facility in capital improvement projects. The stars haven’t changed, but even a well-maintained facility can be out of date after 40 years. A $35,000 investment was needed to purchase new equipment and programs. (More was spent fixing up the room, and the Science Building entrance was also made more accessible.)
Awhile back, the college unveiled the renovation of another outdated campus fixture, the Fine Arts Auditorium, and those who attended the ribbon cutting were in awe. That was an even bigger financial investment, which included the outside appearance of the foyer, the configuration of seats, the sound system and the lighting system.
Since 2012, campus renovations have included improvements to the Student Union, the Kirkman Building and many other buildings. This was done mostly by deciding to “spend down” the college’s reserve funds for needed projects.
If you want to see some of your tax dollars at work, plan to attend one of the open house events at the planetarium Friday or Sunday. (The schedule is on page 2 of Friday’s Great Bend Tribune.) If you have children, bring them too, because tomorrow’s scientists and best-selling authors may be inspired by a trip to this facility or one like it. By the way, kids are welcome at the open houses and there are even some programs that are aimed at a younger audience.
Those who aren’t impressed by science, or fine arts, or athletics or knowledge for the sake or learning may be able to appreciate our community college for the workforce training it provides. But a little stardust is also a good investment.