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Ball State wins state approval for new planetarium

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Ball State University has won state approval for a larger, more sophisticated planetarium and improvements that will allow its greenhouse to house a large orchid collection.

The State Budget Committee on Wednesday approved the new $4.6 million planetarium and the $1.35 million greenhouse upgrade. School fundraising campaigns will pay for the projects.

The new planetarium will include a 52-foot dome that can display constellations and simulate traveling through Saturn's rings, the Star Press reported.

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

Dean of sciences and humanities Mike Maggiotto says the new domed building will be "a place to make people scratch their heads with a sense of awe."

The campus' greenhouse will be upgraded so it can house the Wheeler-Thanhauser orchid collection that's among the largest collections of orchids housed on a university campus.

 

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