Work starting on new planetarium development for Buffalo State
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Work starting on new planetarium development for Buffalo State

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The Buffalo State College in New York State, US, is about to enter the third phase of a US$35.5m expansion to its science and Mathematics Complex (SAMC), with the plans to include a new planetarium open to members of the general public.

Once complete, the Whitworth Ferguson Planetarium will include a 35ft (10.6m) diameter projection dome with state-of-the-art digital and analogue projectors and seating for 48 people. The planetarium itself will be housed inside of a dome containing a Fibonacci sequence pattern, a theme which carries on through the rest of the building.

The final phase of development will connect the main entrance and lobby housing the planetarium to the three story atrium building built in the project’s first phase.

Created by architects Cannon Design, with LPCiminelli acting as general contractors, phase three of the multi-year project includes the creation of the planetarium, as well as a new greenhouse, labs, classrooms and lecture halls. The lobby, which the planetarium sits in, will also include a café and a seating area.

"The planetarium will provide a great immersive experience," said Kevin Williams, planetarium director and associate professor of earth sciences and science education. "We will be able to offer a larger variety of programs in an engaging environment."

This will be the complex's third iteration after a fire destroyed the original Buffalo State planetarium in 1978. Rebuilt in 1982, it was given the name Whitworth Ferguson in recognition of a donation from Whitworth Ferguson Sr and his family.

The new planetarium was originally set to be completed last year but was stalled thanks to construction and planning delays. With plans now making progress, work should start in the Q3 of 2018, with a tentative opening date of Q3 2020.

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The Buffalo State College in New York State, US, is about to enter the third phase of a US$35.5m expansion to its Science and Mathematics Complex (SAMC), with the plans to include a new planetarium open to members of the general public.
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