Yesterday, Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek was honored with a planetarium named after him. The Mayor of El Paso, Texas, Oscar Leeser, and El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Diana Sayavedra had the ribbon cutting and inauguration of the new facility. The old Crosby Elementary at 5411 Wren Ave, housed the new addition to the El Paso community. Joining the Mayor was the El Paso Boys and Girls Club.
El Pasoans are always worried about the cost that the City spends on these special projects and additional taxes. Well, there is good news. The planetarium was funded mostly through the Community development Block Grant of $951,101 and the building cost $1.16 million.
Diana Sayaverda said in a news release:
“This collaboration allows us to continue to provide students with awe-inspiring lessons about the universe and space exploration across a 40-foot dome. It has nurtured a passion for science and the stars for students for decades and will continue to inspire generations of students to come. The Roddenberry is an El Paso treasure.”
The facility had some modern renovations that were done including specialized lighting and sound, a ticket room, a new HVAC system, a catwalk above the dome, and storage facilities.
More than 13,000 people have enjoyed the educational programs at the planetarium since its soft opening last fall. El Paso students have taken field trips during the school year. During the summer months, the planetarium offers public shows and a tour of El Paso’s night and the stars.
The creator of Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry was born in El Paso on August 19, 1921. Roddenberry moved the Los Angeles and then studied to be a policeman before volunteering for the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and seeing some time in World War II as a pilot. Roddenberry was decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal after flying approximately 89 missions in the South Pacific.
After leaving service, Roddenberry spent time as a police officer and then as a writer before writing Star Trek which ran on television from 1966 to 1969.
Have you or do you plan to visit the Roddenberry Planetarium?