Renovations At Martz-Kohl Observatory To Finish By Fall

The Martz-Kohl Observatory undergoes renovations, part of a long-range improvement plan to the facility that will include a new welcome center and parking lot for guests. Work is expected to be completed in about six to eight weeks. Submitted photo

FREWSBURG — The Martz-Kohl Observatory is continuing to be rebuilt and reworked into a scientific get-away that will soon be able to accompany more visitors.

President Gary Nelson said the observatory will still be under construction for the remainder of August and had planned to be open again in mid-September. An update on the observatory’s website detailed demolition of the garage and reported that contractors’ work should be completed in six to eight weeks.

Building a welcome center and leaving room for a bigger parking lot is meant to provide a more convenient experience for guests. The old meeting room was also demolished along with the garage, which had been falling down due to age.

All of the old buildings and trees that were out front of the observatory have now been removed. Contractors are currently erecting the new reception, display and gift shop foundations. A new garage and second classroom are also being built.

Observatory renovations are part of a long-range improvement plan volunteers have in mind for the facility. Funded from donations of members, phase one of observatory improvement included these weeks of construction. In total, $50,000 was donated, and funding has been collected since 2014.

A second and final phase, which has not yet been detailed, will require another $45,000 raised.

Nelson thanks organizations that helped the observatory improve. These include the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts, Hultquist Foundation, Community Foundation, H&H, Jamestown Bronze, Jamestown Boiler, All Metal Specialties, SKF, Dunkirk Metal Specialties, C&F Construction, Martin Lydel LLC and the state of New York.

Since the observatory is run by volunteers, all donations are used to enhance operations.

“We at the observatory thank our guests for being patient with us,” Nelson said.

Nelson also shared some numbers from summer events hosted at the observatory. More than 1,000 people attended the eclipse viewing, and more than 200 people viewed Mars at the observatory when the planet was at its brightest this summer.

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