D.C. Public Schools on Tuesday is set to reopen its only planetarium, which has been abandoned for more than 20 years.
Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Ward 5 has been using its entire mezzanine level for storage for more than two decades.
That's about to change. In August, staff cleared more than two large trash bins of trash and other unused materials to make way for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) wing, including a robotics lab, greenhouse and the planetarium.
First-year principal Sharon Wells made the call, according to school officials, who cited the need to increase the number of minority students who earn college degrees in math and science. In 2009, less than 2 percent of doctoral degrees awarded in the sciences like chemistry and physicts went to black students.
Wells brought in three planetarium directors from Fairfax County and Alexandria's public school systems to revive the planetarium — only a few days short of the weekend's super moon.
Staff, students and community members are expected to tour the planterium on Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. for the first time since it was closed.
This week is Thurgood Marshall's Science Expo Week. The school also will be visited by a NASA scientist, and host robotics demonstrations from students at McKinley Technology High School and Dunbar Senior High School, before hosting its Third Annual Science Fair at the week's end.