The Orange Coast College Planetarium project received a huge financial boost through a generous donation by the former instructor, Mary McChesney. The donation will specifically go towards the Foucault pendulum, the only one in Orange County. The donation was done to honor McChesney late partner and former German OCC professor Adelyn Bonin. Construction on the planetarium began in 2016 after an existing one built in the 50’s was torn down. The school decided it was appropriate to rebuild a new facility rather than renovate the original because advances in technology had made the original obsolete. The new facility will be used by the student body as well as students in K through 12th grade. Community residents will have access to the facility as well. Donations towards the planetarium project have totaled $2.6 million dollars, including McChesney’s donations. The planetarium is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018.
OCC has grown since McChesney’s days as a professor. Residing over 164 acres and enrolling 25,000 students every semester it has become one of the largest and well-respected community colleges in the country. With 135 programs available to its students, OCC can boast that nearly half of its student body is registered in a Career and Technical Education program.
The the main goals of OCC is to provide inexpensive college courses and provide transferable courses to a University of California Campus or a California State University. Within the state of California, OCC produces the third largest number of students that transfer to state universities and they are ranked 65th among 5000 community colleges in the country. The new planetarium can be seen as a symbol of the culmination of these accomplishments by OCC.
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