Craigmont High School Principal Leading Community Effort to Refurbish Planetarium #SCSNewsroom

August 18, 2016 3443 views

After more than 10 years in the dark, there is a new push to relight the stars at the Craigmont High School planetarium. The planetarium, which opened in 1975, was last used in 2010.

Cragimont High Principal Tisha Durrah is spearheading an effort to refurbish the 40-year-old planetarium.

That effort includes a District-led crowdfunding account, plus alumni and community support. So far the response from alumni and community has been outstanding for Principal Durrah.

"I think it’s powerful that alum are interested and taking an interest in what’s going on with the school and with their school today in terms of what is impacting our students," said Durrah.

The antiquated planetarium equipment and lights are in desperate need of upgrades. If you look at the defunct control center at the back of the room, a laser disc used to display the stars sits next to a cassette player and VHS tapes lean against a decades-old soundboard.

Those upgrades could cost anywhere from $30,000 to $190,000.

Despite its current state, the planetarium still shines in the minds of those who were fortunate enough to experience it.

For years, students from across the city took field trips to Craigmont High school to see the stars. One of those students was Criagmont High School assistant principal Eric Cooper, who first experienced the planetarium in kindergarten.

Cooper said, "I remember sitting in one of these chairs and leaning back and seeing the universe. It was my first time seeing something that vast ... it had such an impactful memory."

Current students of Craigmont High also want the planetarium refurbished. 

A field trip to the planetarium is one of the things that drew senior Kevin Matthews to Craigmont High. Matthews recalls how the trip brought other schools and students together.

Senior Kristina Hanson wants the planetarium up and running for when her little sister is old enough to go to Craigmont High. Hanson heard stories about how great the planetarium was from her mother, who was also a student.

"I would have loved the opportunity," says Hanson. "My mother was here at Craigmont High School.  She said it helped her with Science.  It was one of those key moments in her lifetime."

 For more information about the planetarium, visit


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