Stars a Little Brighter at Mitchell Planetarium Thanks to CTU Gift

The stars are shining brightly again at the planetarium in Mitchell High School, thanks to a donation from Colorado Technical University.

The recently refurbished 1960s era Spitz Inc. projector will be shown off today at a reception at 4 p.m. at the high school, 1205 Potter Drive. The event will include a short planetarium demonstration and refreshments.

CTU donated just over $9,000 to cover the cost of parts and labor for refurbishing the star lamp and other repairs, said Mary Ley, Colorado Springs School District 11 project director.

"It was a generous community gesture," Ley said. "They didn’t ask for anything in return."

She said CTU is a strong supporter of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, and the gift to Mitchell fit with its mission.

The planetarium, named for astronaut Scott Carpenter, was added to Mitchell in 1967 and thousands of area students have gone there for shows.

Every Mitchell freshmen gets into the planetarium while studying the life cycle of a star and it’s used for other D-11 classes as well as for field trips.

Last year, the U.S. Space Foundation, which has a partnership with D-11 at the Jack Swigert Aerospace Academy, helped the district apply for a NASA grant for the repairs, but it wasn’t awarded, Ley said.

That’s when she began seeking other funding for the repairs.

“I just went and asked if they would help,” she said, “and they said yes. It was that simple.”


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