Irving ISD high school's planetarium gets overdue renovation

Irving ISD recently completed a much overdue renovation of its planetarium. The facility is one of only 14 built inside a high school around the state. 

The planetarium was first built at Nimitz High School during the space race of 1968 just before the moon landing. 

When its last upgrade from more than 10 years ago succumbed to old age, the district decided to bring the facility into the 21st century. 

In hopes of bringing science to life, Irving ISD recently completed a $250,000 renovation of its planetarium that was built the year before a man first landed on the moon. 

A lot has changed since then, and the school district decided its planetarium needed to change, too. 

Chris Dazer, director of Irving ISD's Science Discovery Education Department, headed up the renovation. 

"By giving a broader experience and gives them more tools to plan and process and dream and study," he said.

For some fifth-grade students, the plan worked.

"I like the changes because you can lay back and look up," said student James Gonzalez.

"It makes you feel like you are actually there," said student Cielo Martinez.

Justice Williams is the planetarium director. He leads three presentations a day to Irving ISD's elementary and middle school students who come to the planetarium on a field trip. 

"I think to myself every day how these kids are so lucky," he said. "I would have loved to have this in my school."

Williams’ hope is to help kids become excited about science.

"All the planets are so extreme. Earth is the one place we can all live and be happy," he said. "It reminds people we are all that we have."