Old Garland ISD favorite given new life

Feb. 1 marked an important day across the district. The Garland ISD Planetarium, housed at Lakeview Centennial High School, reopened after a complete renovation.

First opening its doors in 1976, the Planetarium served thousands of students districtwide before closing in 2011. Following facility upgrades and an overhaul of aging technology thanks to the 2014 bond program, it’s now back in business.

“We have the ability to go anywhere on Earth or in the known universe with stunning high-definition, 3-D clarity,” said Planetarium supervisor Eric Pearce. “We currently offer two shows a day with 77 seats each and would like to bring this experience to every school in the district.”

Third-graders from Davis Elementary School were the first to receive an out-of-this-world experience. They explored planets, took a rocket to the sun and traveled around the world collecting weather data for different areas.

“It was really cool because they showed us different stuff that we might not have known from class,” said Samantha Alonso. “I have never experienced something like this.”

“It was fun to come to, and I would definitely come back. It’s crazy to know that we have one right here in our district that we can come to,” added Mia Rodriguez.

Like the day it first opened, the relaunched Planetarium continues to serve as a resource for district teachers to take their lessons to the next level. It features a state-of-the-art, 360-degree screened dome with interactive simulations of distant galaxies, the Earth’s layers, the human skeleton and more.

“There will be about 4,000 kids come through between now and the end of the school year. The goal is to inspire those kids. I ask them, ‘Who wants to go to Mars?’ Literally, one of these kids could be the very first person to step foot on Mars. I truly believe that.”

All third-grade classes in GISD are being invited to take advantage of this exciting new opportunity before the school year ends. Next year, additional grade levels will be invited, and the district hopes to offer events for the community in the future as well.

Visit the Planetarium webpage for more information, and watch Fox 4 news coverage of the grand reopening.