December 18, 2015 – To celebrate the groundbreaking of the new Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Planetarium and the largest private donation ever to West Valley College, the Planetarium Director Benjamin Mendelsohn hosted quite an event. Dedicated to the education and exploration of the wonders of our world and solar system, the Jean and E. Floyd Kvamme Planetarium was designed to support the West Valley College student and the Saratoga community needs by learning in a unique 41’ dome. The immersive environment will come to life with images projected by dual digital projectors as well as a hybrid optical star machine. The adjoining lobby will serve as a museum containing fixed exhibits, a Foucault Pendulum, and rotating exhibits from other prestigious museums.
West Valley College President, Mr. Bradley Davis said, “We will be forever grateful to the Kvammes for this gift and the strong message it sends about the critical role the college plays in educating and inspiring future generations.” Special guest speaker William Borucki, a space scientist from the NASA Ames Research Center, spoke about how many earth-like planets there are that might support life and how to locate them. Mr. Kvamme reflected on the poetic and humanistic pursuits of planetary investigations and why he was inspired to be so generous in supporting this project.
Construction is expected to be completed in late 2017.