Orange Coast College, located in Costa Mesa, California, is one of the largest community colleges in the United States, enrolling about 25,000 students every semester. The college has over 135 programs of study to choose from, including one of the nation’s top public nautical programs.
Orange Coast College also ranks number one in Orange County in terms of how many students it is able to transfer to California State University systems.
With so many students and facilities to maintain, it stands to reason that the school would need a bit of help in constructing new features, such as their current planetarium project. According to the Los Angeles Times, a retired professor did just that. Former instructor Mary McChesney donated one million dollars to the college’s efforts towards their new planetarium.
The money in question will be used to fund a Foucault pendulum, which is a device used to simulate the rotation of Earth. Officials say that it will be “the only pendulum of its kind in Orange County.” Ms. McChesney said in a statement that the new planetarium “will be a center of scientific studies for college students as well as the surrounding community.” McChesney made the donation in honor of her former partner, Adelyn Bonin, who passed away in January.
The new planetarium will include a 129-seat auditorium, a large improvement upon the 35 seats of the old planetarium.
It will also have a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science on a Sphere globe in the exhibit hall, as well as serve as a resource not only for Orange Coast College students, but also for kindergarten through twelfth grade students in the community. Currently, the planetarium is set to open just in time for the Fall 2018 semester.
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