The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology and The Ohio State University at Newark announced on May 4, 2017, their collaboration to build a $1.4 million SciDome planetarium at The Works’ campus in downtown Newark.
Marcia Downes, The Works’ managing director, noted that this unique public/private partnership will create an immersive science facility that will engage audiences of all ages, adding a complementary component to The Works’ already strong repertoire of STEM education programming. William L. MacDonald, dean and director of Ohio State Newark, said that facility and programming will provide internship opportunities for Ohio State students and technology for projecting state-of-the-art visual learning tools for a variety of courses, including but not limited to anatomy, physiology, biology, earth sciences, physics, and astronomy.
The 2,200 square foot facility will house a 30 foot tilted dome with 4K digital projection and NanoSeam™ technology and theatre-style seating for 60 guests. Groundbreaking for the new building will happen in early June 2017 with completion anticipated in June 2018. A staggered opening is currently planned, with the SciDome first being utilized by The Works’ summer camps in summer 2018, followed by public offerings and use by Ohio State Newark anticipated in fall 2018. The SciDome will be located on the Works’ campus at 55 S. 1st Street on the site of The Works’ current Discovery Garden, between the museum’s administration building and main museum building, the former Scheidler Machine Works. Visitors to The Works will enjoy the SciDome’s interdisciplinary programs free with their paid museum admission or membership.
This innovative collaboration will result in a dynamic educational partnership bringing state-of-the-art fulldome simulations and interdisciplinary programs to the public as well as Ohio State Newark students. To accomplish this breadth of programming, the SciDome will be a shared facility, open to The Works’ guests and school tours as well as Ohio State Newark classes and programming. A complete schedule is yet to be determined.
To further facilitate this unique partnership, the SciDome will include a dedicated office for Ohio State Newark faculty member Dr. Michael Stamatikos, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, Department of Astronomy and Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particles Physics. Dr. Stamatikos—widely recognized for his work on Swift, a NASA satellite mission that was ranked the best science mission in its class in two consecutive NASA biennial senior reviews—will serve as The Works’ Chief Science Officer funded through an endowed professorship at Ohio State Newark. The university will also provide funding for three internships each year (one per semester) to assist with Ohio State Newark programming.
Projected total costs for the SciDome are $2.1 million. Cost of construction is $1.4 million ($600,000 total equipment cost to be contributed by Ohio State Newark; $800,000 in other construction costs to be contributed by The Works), with an additional $700,000 to be utilized for programming and a restricted capital endowment. For the past year, The Works has conducted a quiet but highly successful SciDome Campaign which has raised approximately $1.6 million in private and corporate funding commitments toward the project. Members of the general public will be able to help fulfill the campaign goal by contributing a legacy gift to the SciDome through a named seat/paver/brick campaign. Learn more about contributing to the SciDome here.
$10,000 – SciDome gallery chair with a commemorative engraved plaque
$1,000 – Engraved 12” x 12” paver for the SciDome courtyard
$200 – Engraved 4” x 8” brick for the SciDome courtyard
Initial programming will include Starry Night and The Layered Earth fulldome simulations. Designed for educators by dome builder, Spitz, Inc., these planetarium presentations can be manipulated in real time to empower educators to customize each educational presentation.
A formal groundbreaking ceremony for the SciDome will occur on Friday, June 2, at 6 p.m. at The Works, 55 S. 1st St., Newark. Immediately following the ceremony, The Works will host a night of free family-friendly activities, including free museum admission 6-8 p.m., hands-on STEM activities 6:15-8 p.m., and a family movie beginning at 8 p.m. in The Works’ LeFevre Courtyard. All activities are free and open to the public. Lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics are welcome. A limited menu will be available at The Grill at The Works.