Mankato East planetarium gets $2,000 grant for equipment upgrade

The planetarium at Mankato East High School is getting an upgrade thanks to a teacher’s creative idea.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 7:43 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - The planetarium at Mankato East High School is getting an upgrade thanks to a teacher’s creative idea.

Voya Financial’s Unsung Heroes Program helps educators across the country bring creative teaching ideas to life.

Mankato East Planetarium Director David Burgess was a lucky recipient of $2,000 in this year’s competition.

Approximately 12,000 to 15,000 people visit the planetarium each year to witness its out-of-this-world shows.

Burgess’ winning idea is a technology upgrade to bring the facility’s 15-year-old equipment up-to-date.

“We’re hoping to get a better projector that has a lot better resolution and is a lot darker, so it’s a much more blackened sky than what we have right now,” Burgess explained.

Burgess was one of only 50 winners in the U.S.

In addition to the $2,000, he’ll go head-to-head with other finalists for Voya’s top three remaining prizes of $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000.