Friday, June 26, 2020

Big Plans for Planetarium

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba issued the following statement.


Thursday, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba along with Deputy Director of Cultural Services, David Lewis, and Planetarium Manager, Mike Williams announced updates related to the progress of the restoration of the Russell C. Davis Planetarium.

“The Planetarium has been closed since April 2018 due to a roof leak and interior damage. Now that the leak is fixed and we have a dry building, there is an opportunity for the Planetarium to have its first full renovation in the last 40 years. While we are excited about the history of this Planetarium, we are even more excited about the next 40 years. With that, we’re going to showcase what we are doing now, how you can get involved, and what the future will look like. The City is committed to this project of ensuring we will be one of the top national planetariums for the next 40 years. If the funding continues to come through, our aim is to reopen the planetarium in April 2022.”


During his remarks, Planetarium Manager, Mike Williams explained that over the years, the Planetarium has established itself as an iconic part of the downtown landscape. “From school field trips to medical teleconferences, concert performances and comedy shows, to legislative panel discussions, the Planetarium has been unique among Jackson venues in our ability to serve a wide range of our citizens’ needs,” said Williams.


With plans well underway to make Jackson a statewide hub for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) and space science education, the City of Jackson has partnered with Jackson Public Schools Physics teacher, Kendrick Walker and local extended reality company, Lobaki to launch the Planetarium’s first Virtual Summer Camp. In an effort to rethink virtual education, Williams explained that 19 students will receive state of the art virtual reality hardware for the duration of the beta virtual summer STEAM program. The summer camp will start July 6th. For more information, email mikew@jacksonms.gov.

Deputy Director of Cultural Services, David Lewis said that the process of renovating the Planetarium will take time and money. “Over the past several months, we have been reaching out to various funding sources at the federal, state, and local level to gauge interest and the response has been remarkable. The City of Jackson has identified around $2.4 million in various funds to allocate for this project. Part of this includes the funds we have saved from the Planetarium’s annual endowment from the Marie R. Hoerner Foundation, previously planned improvements to HVAC/lighting upgrades, and an interior demolition. We have also placed a request to the State Legislature for funds, and applied for a federal grant. With a $100,000 seed funding grant from the Shackleford Fund at the Community Foundation for Mississippi, we have established a Friends of the Planetarium fund that will allow us to raise money for this effort,” said Lewis.

From now until the end of August, the Planetarium will be running a fundraising campaign, offering limited edition merchandise for sale to raise money for design work, exhibition design, and exhibition build-out. The City is also engaging all private businesses and philanthropic foundations who would like to make a more significant donation towards the Planetarium’s restoration. For more information on how to help with renovation efforts for the Planetarium, visit: www.yourplanetarium.com.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Place your bets as to if or when this ever happens.

I think clean running water and functioning sewers are a higher priority for a city but that's just my white privilege talking.

Anonymous said...

Well this answered my question yesterday about the Planetarium. Thanks KF. I also agree with 8:03 AM. I would think basic infrastructure would be higher on the list of repairs than boondoggles. Though they are nice to have the city needs to be repaired so people will move back (also known as gentrifying) and support the institutions.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE PLEASE let it happen! This is a hidden gem that has needed extra love for so long. I took my son in 2017, and it looked exactly the same as it did when I was in elementary school in the 80s and no one was there but us.

Unknown said...

Meanwhile the libraries rot.

Anonymous said...

I remember going a field trip not long after it opened. It was a neat place, but I wouldn't be caught dead in that area. Wonder when they will remove "Russell C. Davis" from its name. Just a matter of time. Kenneth R. Stokes Planetarium?

Anonymous said...

Are they going to bring back the pink Floyd laser light shows on friday and Saturday nights? What about the widespread panic show I saw there. Both were packed.

Anonymous said...

Can’t wait to go see The Wall at a laser-light concert!

Anonymous said...

Will be embarrassing to open up the Planetarium and have no running water.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we will risk falling into a crater getting there. Watch out for the water fountains.

Anonymous said...

Can’t wait to drive by all the trash, bums, potholes and rundown buildings to get to it!

Anonymous said...

“Jackson, a state wide hub for STEAM”..bring en in. The kids count get some great physics lessons, as in that happens when 5,000 pounds of bus falls into a 12 inch pot hole. Biology..as what happens to a waterway when 50,000 gallons of rad poop flows into it. I could go on....

Anonymous said...

How are the big plans for The Zoo coming along?

Anonymous said...

Beginning to think that Antard has no intention of making a serious run at fixing the critical infrastructure problems.

Anonymous said...

Why is it lit up like a strip club? Is that supposed to make it appeal to the urban class?

Why waste money on this project in a post-covid world when you can have a better experience at home with VR?

I mean i know why. It will be a minority set-aside.

Anonymous said...

If this were a city run by competent leadership, I would be ecstatic about this news.

Since we don't have that, all I can say is "Meh...whatever."

Anonymous said...

It looks like a strip club. Perfect for Jackson.

Anonymous said...

“ With plans well underway to make Jackson a statewide hub for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Mathematics) and space science education”
===================

Sure.

Anonymous said...

Deputy Director of Cultural Services. I am sure whoever is in that position will see to it Pink Floyd and Widespread Panic come back. Also, probably has the answer to the strip club lighting question.

Anonymous said...

That thing is 40 years old? Damn I'm getting old.

Anonymous said...

Harvey 2.0. If he just announces enough plans, he'll look successful.

Anonymous said...

I'd Love to See the State have an Up-to-Date Planetarium/Museum like this... However, having to ride in an off-road vehicle escorted by armed guards to get there just won't lend to it being very successful I'm afraid.

Anonymous said...

The Golden Triangle is the statewide hub for STEAM; the City of Jackson is the statewide hub for STEAMING PILES.

Anonymous said...

Even if this became the best planetarium in the world I can't see it generating a positive ROI.

How about this for a novel concept- fix the roads and raise salaries for police officers so we can reduce crime.

I'm under 30, married with 2 kids. I WOULD NEVER MOVE MY FAMILY TO JACKSON UNLESS CRIME DROPS DRASTICALLY. Every single one of my friends feels the same way.

Anonymous said...

Fix the 800 sewar issues, not the planetarium.

Did that even have to be mentioned?

Dear Mayor, people pay property taxes and invest in said property. Fix the 800 water issues.

Anonymous said...

What does a Deputy Director of Cultural Services do and how much do they get paid?

Anonymous said...

Probably shouldn't delve off in the weeds on this, but curious how much the "local extended reality company" Lobaki is being paid as a "partner" in the Virtual Summer Camp. And where are these 19 students located, and how were they selected to "receive state of the art virtual reality hardware" in order to participate?

Maybe I'm too suspicious, but sadly wouldn't be surprised to find money flowing to someone connected to someone, etc.

Anonymous said...

I just came here for the comments concerning what a waste to spend any concerns for this project.
I was not disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Happy to see the plans for this improvement. Jackson needs these things to generate interest in the remaining things of interest. We drive by it several times a year and would like to stop and visit.

Anonymous said...

"Kenneth R. Stokes Planetarium?" Why not, he's as big as Jupiter.

Anonymous said...

Closed for over 2 years due to a roof leak!?! Now we going to dump a bunch of money into making it the Star of the "Well Under Way" plans to make Jackson the Statewide Hub for STEAM?
Stay tuned... You'll probably hear more about this in the future at a Shad White press conference.

Anonymous said...

This will be great will add on to the attractions that Jacksonhas to offer.

Anonymous said...

10:01

You nailed it !!

Anonymous said...

Fix the freaking roads, and water, and sewage pipes. Get crime under control, lower taxes, and bring in jobs. If you can do this maybe just maybe spend money on the Planetarium.

Anonymous said...

Flowood should piss in Jackson's wheaties and build something bigger and better that will stay sold out because Flowood is a clean and safe city with competent leaders and an actual future.

Anonymous said...

It's always been a shame that this venue is in Jackson.

But, even more seriously, the only thing more asinine that having a Director of Cultural Services is having a Deputy Director of Cultural Services. What I wouldn't give to see a complete and exhaustive Organizational Chart for the City of Jackson. Of course I would want it to be by race, sex, political affiliation and to-whom related.

Anonymous said...

This is just one of a long line of distractions from the real problems - water, streets/pot holes, sewage, murders, shootings...

Anonymous said...

This is just one of a long line of distractions from the real problems - water, streets/pot holes, sewage, murders, shootings...

Exactly. Just another version of....Oh, Oh, look over there....a squirrel!

Anonymous said...

Opportunity to have Politicians names listed on the building construction plaque. Sad they resort to things like this to try and leave some sort of legacy. If they would clean up the corruption, quit paying off friends, and/or fix the infrastructure issues, they would be remembered and honored for having left a true legacy to be proud of.

Cynic - giving up all hope said...

All the comments here from those that have no faith in Jackson - worried about the minor things like potholes. Clean drinkable running water (through the pipes, not down the streets). Sewer ruptures overflowing through the streets and into the Pearl (from which Jackson's and other cities down south get their drinking water.)

You think those things are really more important than having a first class, STEM based, renovated planetarium? Really now - safety driving to the downtown area, removing the bums living on the street is a more important issue than making this 40 year old building renovated to match Dannys?

Get your priorities straight. We all know the most important thing for the Mayor to be focused on is finalizing his contract so that the ZOO can reopen - its only a year or so past what he first promised. And having a first class zoo in West Jackson is absolutely the most important thing they should be spending our tax dollars on. (Well - the Zoo plus all the festivals, awards, and other 'cultural' and 'social' favorites of our elected leaders!)

Anonymous said...

I just can't resist this. A random sampling (10:05, 10:15 and 11:26 for example) of these comments would be deemed "racist" by the population of "Wokedom". However for the rest of us, "realistic" is a far superior term. I was going to question what happened to the zoo, however 9:14 beat me to it.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Some of you folks are ignorant. The Planetarium is in a lovely spot. Next to the Museum of Art and Thalia Mara. Some of you just cannot accept diversity. One thing at a time.. I work downtown and walk that way regularly and I think this is fantastic news! Great Job, Jackson.

Anonymous said...

3:58 'walks that way regularly' but has never set foot in the place and has no clue what goes on inside. Diversity? Come again?

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh !!!!!! Another PLAN from this idiot.

Anonymous said...

They should rename it after Neil DeGrass Tyson and get Tyson Foods to sponser it. Serve Tyson food as refreshment. Maybe fund a documentary about Stennis Space Center and have Neil Degrass Tyson narrate

Anonymous said...

5:40 - Ronald Reagan said it best when describing government "problem solvers" when he said "The more the plans fail, the more the planners plan"

Anonymous said...

@3:58
Jackson hasn't been diverse since the late 1980s when crime in the early 1990s ran every financially capable person to the suburbs. But for a time in the mid 1980s at Metrocenter, Toys R Us, and Service Merchandise you could whitness diversity. Sometimes you got your car burgled.

Paul Mitchell said...

In a perfect time, with no other issues for the city and unlimited funds for this project, I would still demo the building and put the facility in another place. The structural issues in the towers give me heartburn.

Anonymous said...

A cost/benefit analysis would be in order before one nickel more is spent. Learn a lesson from the Convention Center, as just because you build it doesn't mean that anyone will pay to come there. Additionally, are planetariums even more obsolete with the advent of virtual reality technology?

Anonymous said...

Some of these comments are puzzling to me. If you don't live in Jackson, why do you even care whether the Planetarium is restored or not? If you're afraid of the crime in Jackson, just stay home and don't come here.

And, 8:11, do you really think people who haven't moved from Jackson are not financially able to move? You can't be serious. I moved from Madison to Jackson because I work in downtown Jackson. I can afford to live anywhere I choose. I'm not a millionaire, but I can definitely afford a $250,000 house. Try to stay woke!

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