Cuenca’s new planetarium is under construction in the Parque de la Madre. It will have a capacity of 100 people and from the outside, it will look like the planet Saturn. The city hopes this makes it a tourist attraction as well as a destination for school children.
Mauricio Ochoa, who works with the municipality’s public works division, says it’s about 60 percent built. Cuenca has invested $1,300,000 in the facility--70 percent of that earmarked to pay for the sound system and the projection equipment that will be able to show the planets in 3D.
The new planetarium replaces a 50-seat one that was demolished when the Parque de la Madre was built. The old planetarium registered 400,000 visitors over its two decades of operation.
Ochoa says his department will have to coordinate with the EMAC, the municipal entity in charge of hygiene, to decide which department will manage the new planetarium once it is built. The EMAC is responsible for management of the Parque de la Madre.
The projection equipment for the old planetarium was donated by the German government more than 20 years ago. The municipality is trying to decide what to do with it: whether to locate it in a museum, or try to find another use for it.