New planetarium coming to Spartanburg

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 3:44 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A Spartanburg library gets ready to break ground on a new project that gives people a new way to see the stars.

Construction will start on the Planetarium Learning Center later this year. When it’s complete, the Spartanburg County Library will be one of only two public libraries in the country with a planetarium.

“Instead of us thinking of ways to take people places let’s think about ways of bringing places to the people, and that’s what we’re doing,” Spartanburg County librarian, Todd Stephens said.

When it comes to ideas and innovation, Stephens shoots for the stars. The Spartanburg County librarian has paved the way for the project.

The multi-million dollar theater will have a 45-foot dome and seat around 130 people.

“This gives us an opportunity to introduce a new level of conversation that helps benefit others through their own natural curiosity and need to explore and learn,” Stephens said, “That’s what public libraries do.”

The Planetarium Learning Center will be adjacent to the downtown library, at the corner of Broad and South Church Streets.

“Putting a learning laboratory, a domed theater, a planetarium, on that corner really locks in nicely with all of the other development,” Stephens said, “It sends a message to our community that learning, the sciences, and technology, are critical.”

Project leaders plan to break ground by December. Construction will take about 18 months.

The only other public planetarium in the Upstate is at Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville.

Planetarium specialist Maggie Connelly explains how it helps people explore the stars. “A planetarium is a domed-shaped building, and when you go in, you’re normally going to learn about outer space and astronomy.”

The experience is as entertaining as it is educational, and something for all ages to enjoy.

“People never stop wondering,” Connelly said, “What I find with a lot of people, both young and old, is that astronomy and outer space is something that always fascinates you.”

Roper Mountain Science Center offers shows at the Hooper Planetarium throughout the summer.

Find out more about Friday Starry Nights and Laser Days of Summer here.