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VIDEO: University Unveils $3.75 Million Renovated Christa McAuliffe Center, Planetarium

Annually, 12,000-plus middle school students across the Commonwealth attend the Center to learn first-hand about space and how to reach for the stars.

Framingham State University celbrated the completion of its $3.75 million renovation of the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center, including a new planetarium Tuesday morning.

A state-of-the-art projector for the new space is still being built and will not be installed until January, but a temporary projector was in place to give attendees an idea of what the new dome will look like when operational. The new projector will offer higher resolution graphics and greatly expand upon the University’s program offerings and it replaces a nearly 40-year old projector that had limited capabilities.

The programming possibilities with the new projector are limitless, according to Bruce Mattson, assistant director of the McAuliffe Center. In addition to exploring faraway planets and star systems, students will have the opportunity to take journeys underneath the ocean or through a human cell.

The Center, uner the leadership of Mary Liscombe, is named after alumni Christa Corrigan McAuliffe, who tragically died in the Challenge Shuttle in 1986. McAuliffe's mother, Grace Corrigan, was in attendance yesterday for the ribbon cutting ceremony. Liscombe was a college friend of McAuliffe, when they bothattended Framingham State in the 1970s.

Annually, 12,000-plus middle school students across the Commonwealth attend the Center to learn and be inspired about space. Yesterday, students from Sudbury were at the Center.

University president Timothy Flanagan said this hands-on learning encourages students to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Alo in attendance yesterday were members of the Framingham legislative delegation - Sen. Karen Spilka, Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Rep. Chris Walsh, who helped secure funding for the renovations.

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