Thanks to the generosity of individuals, corporations and private foundations, including a major gift from the founding donors, Mr. and Mrs. Longo, more than $613,000 was raised privately for the new facility, 74% of the total cost.
“My hope is that we can inspire a sense of adventure and spark the mind and the imagination of a future scientist,” said Joseph Longo, who lives in Morristown and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the County College of Morris.
“This is truly a wonderful new facility, not only for our college but for the entire community,” said Dr. Edward J. Yaw, president of the college. “Of the more than 14,000 visitors every year, the vast majority are school children whose interest in astronomy and science is no doubt peaked by a visit to the CCM planetarium.”
The Digistar 4 SP2 HD Digital Planetarium System will allow for projections of the night sky and the planets in greater detail than before. In addition, with the ability to project subtitles onto the dome and an enhanced multimedia system, the new equipment will expand the capabilities to serve and enthrall visitors with hearing and learning disabilities, something that was not possible with the previous system.
The new Longo Planetarium boasts 1,380 square feet of space, and includes custom acoustic wall panels, new floor tiles, a refinished dome, increased theater style seating – from 84 to 91 – enhanced lighting, a new climate-controlled server room, a projector platform and a control desk.
A new Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant ramp and power-assist doors have been installed to make the new planetarium accessible to all. There is a new entrance lobby and the corridors have received new carpeting, upgraded lighting, paint, back-lit display units, upholstered benches and a donor recognition plaque. New exterior signage was also installed.
“With the new projection system, we will be able to show fully animated, three-dimensional renderings of the planets,” said Christopher Fenwick, the director of the CCM Planetarium.