Building Design and History

In 1993 Delta College secured a NASA grant totaling $8.75 million to fund the design and construction of a facility that would provide a learning environment to foster an appreciation of the significance, relevance, and application of the sciences. To create a better understanding of the wonders of our universe, this facility presents a multitude of stimulating, high-quality educational programs for people of all ages.

The design architect was William Kessler & Associates of Michigan and the contractor was Gregory Construction of Bay City. The building is certainly one of the most architecturally different and significant buildings in downtown Bay City as it was intentionally designed to represent space and space exploration which is in stark contrast to other downtown buildings which are more historical in nature. The structure, rhythm, and colors are very deliberate as the overall design is to represent the future. The building design won two very significant awards from the American Institute of Architects. The Dedication Ceremony, facilitated by Delta College President Dr. Peter Boyse with honored guest, NASA Astronaut Richard Searfoss was held February 5, 1997.

The entire building is a metaphor of space and space exploration. Design and architectural elements include:

  • The sun is the center of our solar system; therefore the Planetarium theater is the "center" of the building. The Planetarium exterior colors are red and orange to represent the true colors of the sun’s gases.
  • The exterior “cone” shape of the Planetarium theater represents a rocket exhaust nozzle.
  • The black exterior of the two wings of the building are black to represent the blackness of space.
  • The lobby floor is slightly elliptical in shape to represent the orbits of planets around our sun in our solar system. Imbedded in the floor are stars visible to the naked eye at the latitude and longitude of Bay City, MI. These stars can be purchased and then engraved with the names of those you wish to honor (See Planetarium Endowment Fund for further information)
  • The large two story multipurpose room is called “The Space Explorer’s Hall” and hanging from the ceiling are currently 34 international flags representing 34 countries that have sent a native of their country into space as an astronaut, cosmonaut or flight specialist.
  • Building room windows are round because many space objects are rectangles, no squares, no triangles.
  • Inside walls of the stair tower are painted shades of blue, gray, and black ascending from the bottom floor up to the Observation Deck to represent day, twilight and night skies.
  • Rooms on the first floor are named for objects in our solar system whereas rooms on the second floor are named for deep space objects.

Sky Treasures

Find out what's special in the sky right now!

Learn More

Mike's Astronomy Blog

Discover the wonders of the cosmos with our planetarium manager!

Learn More