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New planetarium already reaching for the stars…

Posted onPosted on 26th Mar

Construction work at Sherwood Observatory for its new planetarium dome has already reached new heights!

Steel framework has been installed, marking a major milestone in the build.

Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Society (MSAS )and Ashfield District Council are developing a Science Discovery Centre and Planetarium at Sherwood Observatory, Sutton.

The project is one of 16 being funded by the council’s £62.6m Towns Deal and work is on track to be completed in November.

The ambitious plans for the site aim to create a unique, world-class facility that will rival those elsewhere in the UK. The observatory, on Coxmoor Road, sits alongside a Victorian subterranean reservoir, which will be sympathetically transformed into an education and exhibition space. The original features of the reservoir, including brick arches, will be kept to preserve the history of the building.

Coun Matthew Relf, executive lead member for Regeneration, Growth, and Local Planning, said: “It is incredible to see the steelwork for both the planetarium and the discovery centre in place.

“We are all getting really excited now that we can see the final footprint of the building.

“This project is one that will truly benefit the entire district, attracting visitors from across the county and beyond. When combined with the council’s other projects you can see our vision for the future of Ashfield — a place with a thriving visitor economy, and a great place to work, live, and learn.”

Steve Wallace, planetarium project manager, said “Sherwood Observatory is dedicated to bridging the opportunity gap within our community.

“We will do this through an ambitious outreach programme that uses astronomy as a means of inspiring people of all ages to take an interest in STEM subjects and careers, particularly disadvantaged young residents, through extracurricular activities and a world-class visitor attraction.

“Recognising that we can inspire the next generation of employees and entrepreneurs, we would love more businesses to get involved.

“The project team have developed a pledge list for those who share our vision, so please get in touch and add your name to this fantastic project.”

Council leader Coun Jason Zadrozny added: “The speed of the progress on site at Sherwood Observatory is fantastic.

“This project is exciting and innovative and will make a difference to children living in Ashfield.

“They will get to experience a world-class educational centre right here on their doorstep. The power of this cannot be understated.”

In January 2023, it was announced that £3.1m from the government’s Levelling Up Fund had been awarded to the project. Since then MSAS has been working to secure match funding. It has received contributions from The Garfield Weston Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Wolfson Foundation, and National Lottery Heritage Fund, which total £850,000.

Pictured, from left, are Coun Matthew Relf; project manager Steve Wallace; Coun Jason Zadrozny; and Stephen Spiegelhalter, of G F Tomlinson.