“As I ran down Wahnish Way passing the Recreation Center, I couldn’t help but notice a large round object that was similar shape like a spaceship in the middle of the phase three field,” said Chelsee Crawford, 22 , fourth year psychology student from Tallahassee.
Crawford said she didn’t realize that it was the science observatory from the top of Jones Hall. Jones hall closed down since May 2010 for renovations when they were allotted $11 million by a grant that Senator Al Lawson funded.
“The observatory was started around 2005,” said Ray H. O’Neal, associate professor of Physics. Renovations for Jones Hall are eight years over due, according to the Florida Department of Education. The building was shut down to correct major deficiencies in the systems. Including wiring and mechanical issues.
Traditionally the observatory was used only for astronomy courses, now other courses such as biology, physics and chemistry has access to it according to O’Neal.
Naida Rivera, 22, biology student from the U.S Virgin Islands said she is excited about the new renovations for the observatory.
“I feel that it is pass time for renovations,” Rivera said, “As biology students we need things that are up to date and useful.”
The new observatory will be robotic so that it is accessible online and it will also include a whole new dome.
“We plan to make the observatory more accessible to the public and we will also have a new telescope filled with the latest technology,” O’Neal said.
With the renovation of the observatory will come new opportunities and partnerships.
“We plan on involving the challenger learning center and maybe making a planetarium so that the public could use the telescope,” O’Neal said. “We will also have the observatory used now in the science summer camps that’s offered for high school students every year.”
A complete renovation of Jones hall is scheduled to be finished by January 2011.