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Ball State OKs $4.6M planetarium, largest in state

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Ball State University's trustees have approved plans for a $4.6 million planetarium that school officials say will become the largest in Indiana.

The planetarium approved Friday will boast a 52-foot diameter dome and cutting-edge projection technology allowing it to dazzle visitors with projections of 10 million stars.

Ron Kaitchuck of Ball State's Department of Physics and Astronomy told The Star Press of Muncie that the school's old planetarium, built in 1967, could project only 1,500 stars.

The 6,500-square-foot planetarium is slated to open in 2014 and will become one of the top 10 university planetariums in the nation.

Nearly half of the project's cost will come from a $2.2 million gift from 1971 Ball State graduate Charlie Brown. He's the co-owner of Southern Bells, a chain of Taco Bell and KFC restaurants.

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