EDUCATION

Pleasant Grove School To Be Rebuilt With Space Center, Planetarium

Dec 17, 2018, 8:41 PM | Updated: 9:24 pm

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — Students at Central Elementary School in Pleasant Grove learned their 70-year-old school will be rebuilt. The school will include a new space Center and planetarium.

The school was already home to the Christa McAuliffe Space Center – a STEM experience that all fifth graders in the Alpine School District get each year.

“The space center in the district is the opportunity to use simulated learning to be able to captivate and inspire students as they are put into a starship looking scenario,” said James Porter, director of the space center.

The center’s simulators give students the chance to learn about engineering and science.

“We open the eyes to all the kids that it is not just about being the astronaut – it is about all the people that do all the math, that gets that astronaut safely there,” he said.

Since 1990, the space center has taught 400,000 students about the final frontier.

“The space center is a great source of pride for our school. It did start here. There is nothing like it in the nation,” said Central principal Ryan Wells.

At an assembly on Monday, district leaders announced that the school will be rebuilt, including a new space center.

You can only imagine the enthusiasm among Central students when they learned not only will their 70-year-old school be rebuilt with the space center – there are also plans to build a 40-seat planetarium.

The project got a big boost at the assembly, with a $1 million donation from the Edward St. John Foundation – a Baltimore, Maryland-based organization that helps elementary, middle and high schools with funding for programs like the space center.

“This donation will help them to build state-of-the-art technology and the new space center with a fixed planetarium,” said Daniel Thomas of St. John Properties.

Efforts will now begin to gather another $3 million in donations, which the school principal believes will provide unique learning opportunities for students in the district for another generation.

“We are excited because this is the next step in education, more interactive and immersive learning and we are excited to give that opportunity to the students at Central elementary and in the Alpine School District and the surrounding area,” Wells said.

Construction on the new school is expected to take a little more than a year. The planetarium is dependent on reaching donations for the full $4 million.

If all goes as planned, the new space center and Central School, will open in the fall of 2020.

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Pleasant Grove School To Be Rebuilt With Space Center, Planetarium