Sarasota's Riverview High School Opens Planetarium

Riverview High School (RHS) at One Ram Way on the corner of Proctor Road and Lords Avenue in Sarasota recently opened a science center and planetarium, which it hopes will benefit not only its students, but those at other schools.and the larger Tampa Bay community.

"It's a one-of-a-kind learning facility that allows us to present information and educate people in a very unique way," says Jason Mocherman, planetarium director and astronomy teacher at RHS. "There's a lot you can do with it. It's an immersive theater and anything you can create on a computer we can create in the planetarium."

The planetarium is the largest of its kind in a public school in Florida and replaces the one that has been on campus since 1969. The Science Center features a digital projection system, dynamic lighting, a digital surround-sound audio system and planetarium-style seating.

The planetarium and science center were built and furnished for roughly $1.4 million. Approximately $380,000 was contributed by the Riverview High School Foundation, a private organization that helps support RHS.

"We're looking to maximize its potential, says Mocherman. "It's on a school campus, so the high school will benefit immediately. But so will elementary schools. Making the planetarium available in the evening will allow us to maximize and impact the community."

A nominal fee may be charged to the general public for special evening programs.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Jason Mocherman, Riverview High School
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