In 2016, officials at the Orange Coast College broke ground for a new planetarium after an existing one, which was built in the 1950s, was torn down. While the old one could only sit 35 visitors, the new one features a 129-seat auditorium and an exhibit hall.
The construction of the new planetarium got an astronomical boost when a former instructor at the institution donated $1 million. The contribution from retired professor Mary McChesney will be used to fund a Foucault pendulum; a device that is used to demonstrate how the earth rotates.
With an overall budget of about $20 million, the college aims at having the planetarium open in time for the fall semester in 2018. Majority of its funding comes from a 2012 bond measure. McChesney’s gift brings donations received by OCC towards the project to $2.6 million.
In a statement, McChesney said that the planetarium would be a center for scientific studies for not only college students but the surrounding community too. The auditorium is expected to serve students from Kindergarten all through to 12th grade. According to officials at the college, the pendulum will be the only one of its kind in the Orange County. Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/orangecoastcollege/
The 91-year-old also said that the donation was in honor of Adelyn Bonin, her late partner who passed on in January. Bonin was also a professor at the Orange Coast College and taught German until she retired. McChesney retired in 1983 after teaching English and Spanish for 33 years at OCC. She has been an ongoing contributor to the foundation and scholarships. Learn more: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/denova-homes-hosts-orange-coast-college-architecture-students-300544974.html
About the Orange Coast College
OCC is one of the nation’s largest community colleges located in Costa Mesa, minutes away from the South Californian beaches. It was founded in 1947 but started its operations in 1948. The institution currently enrolls more than 25, 000 students every semester and is the third largest college in Orange County in terms of population.
Orange Coast College is a member of Coast Community College District and is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. It offers summer, spring, winter, and fall classes. In 2017, OCC saw 16 sophomores proceed to the next level of their athletic career.