J&B INSTALLATIONS, INC. DONATES NEW ROOF FOR THE SOUTHERN CAYUGA PLANETARIUM
“I remember visiting the Southern Cayuga Planetarium as a child with my classmates during our school field trips. At the time I didn’t appreciate the technology and innovation the planetarium offered. Now as an adult, and an avid outdoorsman, I wish I had paid more attention when learning to navigate the stars. ‘The Big Sky Country’ of Montana is one of my favorite vacation destinations. It’s as if you can simply reach up and touch the stars. Anyone who visits the planetarium can have this same experience, and many more with the planned revitalization of this historic gem.” In 1981, Bob Parker became Founder and President of J&B Installations, Inc., a premier industrial and commercial roofing contractor serving Upstate and Central New York with over one hundred employees during peak season. Today, he is giving back to the community with his donation of a new roof worth nearly a hundred thousand dollars to the Friends of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium. Hopefully, soon the Southern Cayuga Planetarium, built in 1968 on the Southern Cayuga School District campus in Aurora, NY, will reopen its doors to thousands of Central New York school children, college students and adult visitors.
J&B Installations installs over a million square feet of roofing annually, covering everything from small repairs to five million dollar roofing projects. They have received numerous awards for their quality of workmanship from the most recognized roofing experts in the industry, including Firestone, Sarnafil, Carlisle and others. Now J&B will roof their first planetarium where, for over four decades in Southern Cayuga, thousands of Cayuga County area children have been inspired to gaze skyward. Enhanced in 2004 with a NASA funded observatory next door, the ‘Space Race’ era Planetarium is sited so the clear Central New York celestial environs and their lack of ambient light substantially improve the viewing experience. Greatly enhancing understanding of the night sky, this facility now needs restoration for the next generation.
Friends of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose Board of Directors includes local high school astronomy, earth science and environmental science teachers; researchers and professors from Cornell University and Wells College; amateur astronomers; Cornell Administrators, local parents, and other retired professionals. The group was created to support the irreplaceable Southern Cayuga Planetarium and Observatory because of the vital part it plays for immersive education in this region. Closed in September 2014, the Friends’ goal is to restore and reopen the facility as soon as possible so it can fill the next generation with wonder of the universe and encourage students to pursue Science, Technology, Agriculture, Engineering and Math (STEAM) to improve our world.
Southern Cayuga School Superintendent Patrick Jensen has noted, “I truly appreciate and support the effort of Friends of the Planetarium to reopen our unique and wonderful facility. The generous donation from our community partners sets in motion an ambitious plan to renovate the planetarium. As Superintendent, I am also pleased to announce the district has secured additional funding from New York State to create a STEAM classroom in the adjoining space to host our expanding robotic and coding programs. As the Friends’ goals are consistent with our educational mission, I appreciate their ongoing efforts and support their endeavors.”
Friends of the Planetarium received initial grants from Central NY Community Foundation and John Ben Snow Foundation to hire Grant Consultant Sandy Souder to assist their work in restoring and reopening the site. She brought in J&B to look at the Planetarium roof and Tony Cavallaro, Garth Napolitano and Mark Warren came back and donated their time immediately to do an initial, short-term roof repair. Friends of the Planetarium are in the midst of reaching out for other donations to complete restoration of the Planetarium infrastructure and update the Planetarium technology; to donate contact: Friends of the Southern Cayuga Planetarium, PO Box 186, Aurora, NY 13026. Soon, they hope to take citizens from under Earth’s oceans to the red spot on Jupiter and far beyond. Succinctly, Friends of the Planetarium plan to bring things out of this world back down to Earth; J&B Installations is proud to be helping make this happen in a major way.