The El Paso Independent School District’s Gene Roddenberry Planetarium has a new home in the Northeast.
The EPISD Board of Trustees on Tuesday finalized the funding mechanisms that will help move the 50- year-old space exploration facility from its current location on the EPISD Education Center to the soon to-be-vacated Crosby Elementary School.
A partnership between EPISD and the City of El Paso secured the $1 million needed to move and upgrade the Planetarium. The funding will come from a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant the city received, as well as matching funds from EPISD.
“The Gene Roddenberry Planetarium is an asset for EPISD and the entire El Paso Community. We are excited to be able to secure its relocation and upgrades so that generations of students in the region can continue to benefit from its programming,” said Superintendent Juan Cabrera.
“Space exploration continues to be a source of inspiration for our students, and for many of our students that inspiration was first sparked at the EPISD planetarium.”
EPISD must vacate the city-owned Education Center on Boeing Drive by the end of 2020. New central offices are currently under construction near Downtown. The relocation of the Roddenberry Planetarium to Crosby is part of the District’s exit of the Boeing property.
Crosby will be consolidated with Dowell and Schuster elementary schools into the new Coach Archie Duran Elementary School as part of the EPISD Bond 2016 modernization plan.
The El Paso City Council in 2018 approved the allocation of $951,102 in CDBG funds for the relocation of the planetarium and the EPISD Board of Trustees agreed to provide matching funding totaling $208,778.
District officials selected the multi-purpose building of Crosby Elementary as the site for the planetarium and will use the funding to upgrade the facility. The upgrades include the construction of a new 40-foot dome, exhibit seating areas, roof upgrades and aesthetic improvements.
EPISD will temporarily retool planetarium services while the construction of the new facility is ongoing.
The new planetarium is expected to reopen at its new location in early 2021.