Our vision is to become the world’s center for learning about the importance of dark skies and what lies beyond. The unique educational approach using dark sky preservation as a portal to better understanding astronomy, the space program, the universe, and sustainable life on earth will inspire, educate, and stir imaginations.
The goal will be achieved with the development of a 15,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that will have the following four major components:
Dark Sky Observatory: A first-class domed observatory housing a large, research-grade telescope with provisions for visual observing, astrophotography, and live broadcasts
Hyperspace Planetarium: A state-of-the-art, tilted dome planetarium with immersive digital technology
Inspiration Theater: A multi-use, 150-tiered-seat theater/auditorium/lecture hall with the latest 8K projection technology and sound systems
Immersion Zone: A 3,000 square-foot exhibit hall with interactive and engaging educational displays, traveling exhibits, and virtual reality stations
The International Dark Sky Discovery Center (IDSDC) will be located in Fountain Hills, Arizona, which was designated as the 17th International Dark Sky Community in the world, a prestigious distinction that generated widespread national publicity. Sometimes referred to as a dark sky oasis in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun, Fountain Hills is the ideal location for the planned facility.
A fundraising goal of $18 million has been set and is based on information from the feasibility study conducted by Arizona State University and additional details provided by technical consultants. This amount includes the capital costs of construction, and as is customary, the first five years of operations. The timeline for completion is two years after the fundraising goal is reached.
Important to note is that separate from the $18 million, the Town of Fountain Hills has added at least $2 million of value to this project by committing, for a nominal fee, prime Town property with adequate parking, lighting, infrastructure, etc.
Naming rights opportunities are being offered for the entire facility and the four major components. A lead gift of $9 million awards naming rights for the IDSDC and gifts of $2 million or $2.5 million offers naming rights for one of the four major components. The IDSDC is a 501(c)3 organization and gifts can be spread over several years if desired.
The value the IDSDC brings to education in Arizona is recognized by Governor Doug Ducey with his support statement, “The International Dark Sky Discovery Center is an exciting opportunity for students and amateur star-gazers alike. The Center will be another tremendous asset to keep our state at the forefront of STEM education.”
The educational quality and sustainability of this outstanding venture is further assured by the statement from Arizona State University’s President Dr. Michael Crow, “Arizona State University looks forward to developing a collaborative relationship with the International Dark Sky Discovery Center.”
Upon reaching the fundraising goal, the strong, diverse talents of the IDSDC Board of Directors and the incredibly strong support from the entire community assures successful implementation. The IDSDC won’t be a Fountain Hills attraction. It will be an international attraction in Fountain Hills that will benefit the entire state of Arizona.