An out of this world upgrade at WAHS

PHOTO PROVIDED Shown are LJ Boone and Cam Crossley in the WAHS planetarium.

By LYSIA GEHRIS

In 1974, Williamsport Area High School was built fully equipped with a state-of-the art planetarium. However, planetarium technology has greatly evolved within the past 43 years, making the once high-tech plantarium now in need of renovation. This school year, two seniors involved in the CTE Engineering and Robotics program at the High School, LJ Boone and Cameron Crossley, have decided to take on the task.

The two students have to complete a graduation project for their engineering class and recalled their astronomy teacher Mrs. Tara Yokitis talking about the much-needed planetarium renovations. Their Engineering and Robotics teacher Mr. Clark Sarge thought it would be a great project for the gentlemen.

After presenting their proposal to school district administrators, Mrs. Yokitis helped them write a proposal for the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation annual teacher mini-grant program, and they received a $1,500 grant to support the project.

The biggest of the planetarium aspect in need of updating is the star projector, a device that casts images of constellations onto the dome ceiling. Over time, the light has dimmed therefore making the projections difficult to see. A newer system would be much more effective in teaching astronomy to the students. Other improvements are being made to the lighting and sound system, as well as to the general upkeep to the facility.

Mr. Boone and Mr. Crossley stated that their motive for the remodel is “to ensure that the planetarium at the high school continues to be a relevant aspect of students’ astronomy education.” The renovations are expected to be completed and ready for use before the end of the school year.

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