Public outcry saves UNR's Fleischmann Planetarium

RENO -- University of Nevada officials have scrapped plans to demolish the Fleischmann Planetarium but say its programs will have to find a new home within a few years.

School officials said the planetarium building will be used in the future for an undetermined purpose and new parking to meet disability requirements could be built north of Lawlor Events Center.

The move comes in response to a public outcry against the demolition plans, UNR President John Lilley told a Reno newspaper.

"That's why we revised our midcampus plan -- to save the building," Lilley said. "We tried to be responsive to this issue, and once we found a better way, we were delighted to take that."

The decision to save the building comes after university officials agreed about two weeks ago to delay its demolition.

Ron James, Nevada's state historian, said the decision not to demolish the planetarium is good news for the community.

"This is an extremely important building and institution," James said. "To make a commitment to save both means the university is playing a productive role in ensuring that the quality of life in northern Nevada will continue to improve."

The planetarium will continue to operate its Star Shows, feature films, observatory telescope and other operations in the current structure until it can find a new home.

Lilley said the university will work with Reno and Sparks to see if either city wants to pursue a proposal made three years ago by the Friends of the Planetarium to build a Great Basin Science Center that would include the planetariums programs.

"The science center has fluidity, but the planetarium is a slam dunk," Lilley said. "It will be preserved."


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