UOG planetarium scheduled to close at end of June - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

UOG planetarium scheduled to close at end of June

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by Krystal Paco

Guam - The lights may soon go out on the island's only planetarium. Come the end of this month, the stars are scheduled to go out at the island's favorite stargazing site.

University of Guam director of professional and international programs Cathleen Moore-Linn says they'll be moving forward with plans to close the planetarium and use the summer months to convert the space into a lecture hall to meet the need for more classrooms. She told KUAM News, "This is under the College of Natural and Applied Sciences, and as you know a lot of our math classes are over in the Warehouse Annex A and B, and those classrooms are extremely old they will blow away in the next typhoon. And so we want a more permanent place for them and working with the dean to move some of those lecture classes and turning the planetarium into a lecture hall that's aligned with the demands within the college."

If the stargazing site closes however, planetarium coordinator Pam Eastlick - known as "The Star Lady" - says they'll have a big void to fill not just the hole in the ceiling left by the dome, but by the exposure and lasting memories the experience has left on school children for the last 20 years. "I asked them how many of them that their visit to this room was their first exposure to the university? And it surprised me because so many things happen at the Field House, but in every single one of the classes. Between 70% and 80% of them said it was here this was their first exposure to the university," she explained.

A public hearing was held back in February where options including a portable planetarium or moving the planetarium to a different location like a museum was proposed.

In the meantime, community members are circulating a petition to keep the site open. "Until then its open its available for booking at the very least until the 30th of June and my salary of course stops at the 30th of September, that's the end of the fiscal year," Eastlick stated. "So I'm assuming if they're really going to close it down, that's definitely the absolute ultimate date."

Showings will resume as scheduled on June 13, 14, and 15. For more information, e-mail stars@guam.net

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