The Rainier science dome on the Fort Steilacoom campus received approval from the Board of Trustees to begin completion of the $1.6 million project on Jan. 11.
Jim Taylor, director of facilities, defined the intention of the science dome’s multi-dimensional capability.
“The concept evolved from just a planetarium for astronomy programs to encompass a potential broader use for additional types of presentations and programs such as graphic design,” Taylor said. “The ultimate design includes a projection capability that can support graphics presentations in addition to star charts typical of a planetarium.”
This project, conceived more than 10 years ago, began as an effort to replace old science laboratories and classrooms in the Cascade building on the Fort Steilacoom campus.
The science dome parallels in magnitude the cost of construction of the Health Education Centers on both campuses.
While students at the Puyallup campus are charged about $60 per quarter fee for the construction of the Puyallup campus’ HEC, the addition of the science dome will not require a similar measure. The HEC was initially conceived by a student initiative, with funding drawn from the student activities fee that each student pays at the beginning of every quarter.
“The science dome is not funded from activities fee. It is funded by a combination of other monies,” Joann Wiszmann, vice president of administrative services, said. “Some came from the state as part of the project funding for the Rainier building. However, we also are using capital funds, monies donated to the Foundation’s 21st Century Learning Campaign, some college reserves and some money from the student technology fee.”
Wiszmann explained that less than 10 percent of the funding for the science dome was provided by money from the technology fee. Like the initiatives that were used to institute the HEC, the technology fee money was authorized by students on the Fort Steilacoom technology tee committee and approved by the board of trustees.
“Students will continue to pay the same technology fee rate they already pay, $3.50 per credit, up to 10 credits, for a maximum of $35 per quarter,” Wiszmann said.
The technology fee is aimed primarily at paying for a sophisticated projector system, not for construction costs.
Alongside this, the master plan of the project includes the construction of an observatory on the hillside adjacent to the Rainier building.
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