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Published: Wednesday, 7/19/2006

Lourdes reopens planetarium as donation pays for projector

BY JOSHUA BOAK
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Erika Buri, the new planetarium coordinator at Lourdes College, conducts a demonstration of the facility's new computerized video projector. The planetarium had been closed since 1999. Erika Buri, the new planetarium coordinator at Lourdes College, conducts a demonstration of the facility's new computerized video projector. The planetarium had been closed since 1999.
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At Lourdes College's reopened planetarium, it is possible to zip 365 million miles to the planet Jupiter and watch its moons orbit away an entire year in a matter of seconds.

"It'll be very cool," said Erika Buri, the new planetarium coordinator. "I'm excited to play."

Closed since 1999 because of maintenance costs, the updated Lourdes planetarium was unveiled yesterday at an afternoon ceremony that honored the possibilities of the heavens and the generosity of James and Patricia Appold, whose donation helped pay for a new video projector.

The Spitz SciDome, which displays stars and movies on the planetarium's white conical screen, cost a "couple hundred thousand dollars," said Mary Arquette, Lourdes' vice president for institutional advancement.

Controlled by a computer that can record a voyage across the night sky into a customized movie for audiences, the projector replaces the traditional star ball, which operated on slides.

First opened in 1964 and housed in Mother Adelaide Hall on Lourdes' campus in Sylvania, the planetarium will offer presentations to the college's science classes, area elementary, middle, and secondary school students, and the public.

Mrs. Appold, a trustee at Lourdes, used a poem to explain her family's donation for the planetarium's new projector and improved lighting and sound capabilities.

"Fascination with the moon and stars sparks both curiosity and poetry," she wrote. "We hope the planetarium inspires and invigorates an eagerness to know more!"

Mr. Appold is the owner and president of Consolidated Biscuit Co., McComb, Ohio. He also owns the Oliver House in Toledo and its restaurants, Maumee Bay Brewing Co. and Rockwell's.

Lourdes renamed the 60-seat planetarium in honor of the Appolds. It was previously named for the 16th century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus, who determined the sun was the center of the universe.

The size of the gift was undisclosed. It took about two weeks in March to install the new projector but nearly two years to find a donor who would finance it.

Lourdes President Robert Helmer said the planetarium helps fulfill the college's mission of providing "continuous opportunities for intellectual discovery."

Lourdes will present a one-hour program, which will include the film Oasis in Space, to the general public at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8, Sept. 22, Oct. 6, Oct. 20, and Nov. 10.

Tickets for adults cost $4. Children under 12 will be charged $3.

Contact Joshua Boak at:

jboak@theblade.com

or 419-724-6728.



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