The high school planetarium has state-of-the-art technology

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MILFORD — When it opened in 1973, Joseph A. Foran High School had a state-of-the-art planetarium. Now it starts again.

City and school officials gathered for a ribbon cutting on Thursday to celebrate the completion of the school’s planetarium to meet the technological advancements that currently exist. The planetarium upgrade project was stalled during the pandemic, but work resumed during the summer and fall of 2021. The new planetarium is now complete and fully operational.

“A lot has changed since 1973,” Superintendent Anna Cutaia said, “but we can proudly say that we once again have a state-of-the-art planetarium.”

As part of the capital improvement plan, the school board requested funds from the city to renovate the planetarium. In February 2018, the city bonded $500,000 to replace the 45-year-old facility. From there, a team of administrators, instructional supervisors, teachers, operating facilities, and computer research planetariums developed a set of specifications for the new planetarium.

School administrators put out a tender for the project and ultimately selected Evans and Sutherland of Salt Lake City, Utah for the project. The company partnered with Bowen Technologies of Indianapolis for lighting and sound systems and Sky-Skan of Germany and Nashua, NH, which carried out the dome renovations.

“There aren’t many planetariums in Connecticut, let alone in high schools, which makes this planetarium unique and special,” said Max Berkowitz, principal of Foran High. “I am extremely proud and honored to be the principal of the school which not only has a planetarium, but also a state-of-the-art facility that provides students from Foran High School and students from Milford Public Schools with an experience unique and special learning experience.”

Science teacher Laura Donovan teaches at the planetarium.

“Probably the most profound part of having this incredible facility exist for our students is the impact it has on them,” she said. “I’ve seen more wonder and curiosity, and been asked more questions than ever before in my teaching career, and it also gives our students an equitable learning experience.”

Donovan said that growing up she was a visual learner and having state-of-the-art facilities helps students see things for themselves that may be abstract or not theirs. not visible daily.

“It also connects to our global community,” she said. “We can share and access resources from space agencies such as NASA, the European Space Agency, and various museums and other planetariums around the world.”

The planetarium isn’t just for Milford students. Berkowitz said Donovan hosted other schools and guided them through the wonders of the universe using the upgraded planetarium.

Besides the educational uses, school administrators said there are countless opportunities for the community to host events of all kinds at the new facility.

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