November 30, 2005

Rep. Matsui, campus officials tout plans for
Science and Space Center

Preliminary plans and concepts for a new Science and Space Center at Sacramento State were showcased today during a campus visit by Congresswoman Doris Matsui.

The planned center will contain an observatory, planetarium, hands-on science exploration areas and laboratories for student interested in astronomy research. Congresswoman Matsui and her husband, the late Congressman Robert Matsui, were instrumental in securing $1.5 million for the facility, including a $950,000 appropriation Doris Matsui helped obtain this year.

Sacramento is the nation’s largest metropolitan area without a state-of-the-art planetarium. These types of facilities are considered crucial to California’s ability to continue as a science and technology leader because astronomy acts a “gateway” that builds students’ interest.

"I am very excited to see the initial concepts for Sacramento State's new Science and Space Center and planetarium,” Matsui said. “As the largest metro area without a state-of-the-art planetarium, this upgrade to the University's facilities is very welcome. They demonstrate the energizing directions Sacramento State is going in and its commitment to education."

Sacramento State President Gonzalez said: “This project will provide modern facilities for our students, and inspire thousands of future students to major in other science and technology related fields. Astronomy is a ‘gateway’ that gets students interested in these high-demand fields. And the Capital Region needs more people with that type of expertise in our elementary schools and high schools – as well as in private industry - to ensure our economic prosperity.”

The Space and Science Center will include a wide range of equipment including solar and astronomical telescopes, observatory domes and high-volume lab servers. Part of it will house the Center for Mathematics and Science Education to support and enhance the skills of more than 1,000 K-12 mathematics and science teachers each year. And it is expected to attract about 25,000 visitors to the campus each year.

The facility will be built with non-state funds, and cost an estimated $10 million.

In addition to the federal funding, other support for the project so far has come from the late Chien Yuan Hu and the late Royal and Kirsten Vanderberg. Hu, who was a professor in the University’s physics department, provided $200,000 in a $2 million bequest to fund a Foucault pendulum in the center. Royal Vanderberg was also a professor of physics, and the Vanderbergs provided $200,000 to establish a planetarium fund.

If all goes as planned, the University hopes to break ground on the project within the next year.

High-resolution images of the initial plans and artist concepts are available for download at www.csus.edu/news/imagedownload. Media assistance is available by contacting the Sacramento State Public Affairs Office at (916) 278-6156 or Matsui’s office at (916) 498-5600.

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California State University, Sacramento • Public Affairs
6000 J Street • Sacramento, CA 95819-6026 • (916) 278-6156 • infodesk@csus.edu