Arlington, VA

Arlington Public Schools will close the David M. Brown Planetarium under superintendent Dr. Pat Murphy’s proposed fiscal year 2011 budget.

Dr. Murphy says the school system, facing a $12.8 million budget deficit, cannot afford the nearly half million dollars worth of mechanical upgrades needed to keep the 40-year-old planetarium open.

The planetarium is named after David Brown, a Yorktown High School graduate who perished in the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Dr. Murphy says the science wing at Yorktown High will be named in Mr. Brown’s honor after the planetarium closes.

The space now used by the planetarium will likely be converted into another educational-use facility. APS needs to use all the space at its disposal given its burgeoning student body, Dr. Murphy said.

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