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Additional $3.6 million in federal funds allocated for MKAEC project

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Date: Wednesday, February 19, 2003
Contact: George Jacob, (808) 933-3917

For Immediate Release

A preliminary concept rendering of the proposed titanium skin clad entrance to the Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center at UH Hilo's University Park of Science and Technology.

Moving steadily ahead with the planning and design process for the $28 million University of Hawai`i at Hilo Mauna Kea Astronomy Education Center (MKAEC), Project Director George Jacob recently announced the allocation of $3.6 million in federal educational earmarks for fiscal year 2003.

"Senator Daniel Inouye had initiated the procurement of federal funds for creating a landmark institution on the Big Island," Jacob said. "Additional federal funding from NASA is expected toward exhibition design, planetarium, omni-projection theatre and specialized equipment procurement over the next two years. This brings the total federal funds earmarked to date to $19.79 million."

MKAEC will showcase the coming together of science and culture as never before attempted in the United States in a compelling story of human exploration, perseverance and ingenuity in mankind's relentless pursuit of knowledge as it sets sail on a fascinating journey of discovery.

The MKAEC is tentatively scheduled to open in 2005 in the University Park of Science and Technology and will serve as a premier interpretive facility for the world's largest and finest collection of operational astronomical observatories. The 49,000-square-foot Center includes 25,000-square-feet of gallery space, an 18.2 meter tilted-dome URANUS planetarium, and classrooms. MKAEC hopes to attract over 250,000 visitors annually.

Groundbreaking for MKAEC is expected in April 2003.

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