International Dark Sky Discovery Center sets March 2024 groundbreaking in Fountain Hills

Nov 30, 2023, 4:25 AM

PHOENIX – After years of planning, construction on the International Dark Sky Discovery Center in Fountain Hills is set to start in March 2024.

“We are so over-the-top happy,” Joe Bill, the nonprofit project’s president, said in a video Tuesday after the board of directors gave the greenlight to break ground.

The International Dark Sky Discovery Center, which will house the Valley’s largest telescope, will be built west of Fountain Park near the Fountain Hills Community Center and town library.

What is the purpose of International Dark Sky Discovery Center?

The venue will consist of the Dark Sky Observatory, Hyperspace Planetarium, Inspiration Theater, Night Sky Experience Exhibit Hall and Einstein Exploration Station.

“The 23,000-square-foot facility will inspire, educate, stir imaginations and cultivate a greater appreciation for our dark skies, our planet and the universe,” Geoff Yazzetta, a board member, said in the video.

McCarthy Building will construct the campus, which was designed by Swaback Architecture.

Plans for the project were unveiled in 2019, and fundraising started in 2021. The state of Arizona appropriated $2.5 million toward the effort in the 2021 budget.

The conceptual design was completed in April 2022, and work was expected to begin later that year. It’s not clear why construction was delayed.

In 2018, Fountain Hills was designated as the world’s 17th International Dark Sky Community after years of work to reduce light pollution in the town east of Scottsdale.

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International Dark Sky Discovery Center sets March 2024 groundbreaking in Fountain Hills