Craigmont H.S. Planetarium Restoration

Craigmont H.S. Planetarium Restoration

             Craigmont High School was opened in 1974 in the Raleigh community of Memphis, TN. At the time of its inception, Craigmont High School was a premier school in the community boasting such components as a full greenhouse, complete auto mechanic shop and a large soccer/baseball complex. However, the crowning jewel of Craigmont High School was the opening of their state-of-the-art Planetarium in 1974. The 130-seat dome was equipped with the latest technology of that time period – including a built in cassette player, a sound system keyboard laced with monitors for “sun”, “moon”, and “stars” and VHS tapes entitled “space music”.

            More important than the high tech features of the planetarium, was the significance of this structure for the Memphis City School district. Elementary and middle schools from around the district utilized the Planetarium as a learning tool with hundreds of memorable field trips organized around Craigmont’s Planetarium.

            Due to budget restraints and staff reduction, the school was no longer able to modernize the operating systems nor sustain the daily running of the planetarium. Thus, the planetarium went dark in 2010.

            Today, there has been a renewed interest in reviving the planetarium and restoring it back to its noteworthy status in the community & district. Estimates to digitalize the planetarium and bring it up to date range from $31,000 to $190,000. Community support in addition to Alumni interest has sparked a grass root movement in refurbishing the planetarium.  

            The Craigmont community & stakeholders would be appreciative of any help that can be provide to help in restoring this treasure for present and future generations to benefit from academically. As one student commented, “This place was magical for young minds.”