New Planetarium Near Completion on UMaine Campus


ORONO - Construction crews broke ground for the 8,000 square foot Emera Astronomy Center on the campus of UMaine.

They've been working since then, staying on schedule, knowing as they go along they're building something great.

“This is one of our more unique, and it's actually thrilling as a two time graduate of the university of Maine and an ex professor here at the university of Maine. It's very exciting for me to see the program invest in something that's going to bring a lot of young people in and teach them about stem education,” said president and CEO of Nickerson & O’Day Inc., Karl Ward.

The structure will house offices and classrooms but the biggest part of the project is no doubt the observatory.

The 33 foot dome is made up of many steel panels that are put together and held in place by chains.

Project manager Steve Burton says a rare job like this is one of the most interesting he has taken on.

“A planetarium, how often do you see these going in I guess, I went to the one that's here now when it was in fifth grade, that was too many years ago to remember, but that's probably why I guess,” says Burton.

The astronomy center replaces a similar 60 year old planetarium, and will be the largest of its kind in the state of Maine.

“We don't have much in the community to go look at, and this is probably going to be one that they can remember as a kid," says Burton.

Construction is about to wrap up here at the planetarium with hopes to have it open by summer, and definitely by fall classes.

Bryan Shawver

Morning Anchor/Reporter

Bryan joined the news team in February of 2014. You can catch him weekday mornings on WVII ABC 7's Good Morning Maine at 6:30am and WFVX FOX 22's 7am News Hour. Bryan has held an interest in news since he was a child, often sitting in front of a video camera reading the newspaper.

Bryan is an Indiana native, and yes, an Indianapolis Colts fan. Also a graduate of Ball State University, Bryan holds a degree in Telecommunications and Journalism. He also has a passion for weather, and holds a minor in meteorology and climatology.

When not at the station, you will most likely find Bryan hiking, skiing, snow climbing and also enjoying the beach in the summer. He plans to enjoy everything Maine has to offer.

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