With $2.5 million in the state budget allocated to the International Dark Sky Discovery Center (IDSDC), the project now moves to Phase Two. Joe Bill, IDSDC President said, “Our entire Board is deeply grateful for Representative John Kavanagh’s tireless efforts on our behalf. By working to inform his legislative colleagues how the IDSDC will be a state-wide asset, he secured funding support that will enable us to advance to Phase Two.”
“Phase two is the detailed architectural design of this state-of-the-art, science-based facility,” stated Jerry Butler, the IDSDC Board member leading the architectural firm selection process.
The non-profit IDSDC, with 15,000 sq. ft., will have four distinct educational attractions. One is a Dark Sky Observatory with the largest telescope in the Greater Phoenix area.
Ted Blank, the IDSDC Vice President is particularly excited about the observatory and stated, “We will offer public viewing to present breathtaking views of the moon, planets, nebula, galaxies, and other stellar objects. We will also have astrophotography, research, and broadcast capabilities.”
The observatory’s capabilities for astrophotography and research have already attracted the interest of university leadership.
“Arizona State University looks forward to developing a collaborative relationship with the International Dark Sky Discovery Center,” said ASU president Dr. Michael Crow.
Interactive and mixed reality experiential and educational learning opportunities will be provided by the other three major IDSDC components: a Hyperspace Planetarium, an Inspiration Theater, and an Immersion Zone.
“The International Dark Sky Discovery Center is an exciting opportunity for students and amateur star-gazers alike,” said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. “The Center will be another tremendous asset to keep our state at the forefront of STEM education.”
The importance of educating the next generation is shared by Senator Mark Kelly, “As an engineer and former astronaut, I am excited to support the International Dark Sky Discovery Center’s mission to provide STEM education programs that will help inspire the next generation in the pursuit of space sciences and exploration.”
“Fountain Hills, which was designated in January 2018 by the International Dark Sky Association as the 17th International Dark Sky Community in the world,” said Mayor Ginny Dickey, “is the perfect location for the IDSDC in the Greater Phoenix area.”
“With about 25% of the funds now committed for this $20 million project,” said Bill, “we are hopeful that those who are capable of major donations will be inspired to help fund Phase Three and bring this exciting endeavor to life.”
The public can experience the IDSDC’s vision by viewing an inspiring three-minute video on the website homepage.